Are you aware of climate change? It’s a global issue that affects not only humans but also every other living creature on Earth. If people stick to fossil fuels and other unsustainable means of production, the world will witness more devastating natural disasters and severe changes in temperature — but there is hope.
Individuals and organizations alike have taken it upon themselves to help the world become clean and green, one step at a time. Here are 50+ amazing green initiatives that could very well keep climate change in check.
The company has always had environmental projects. These include the Disney Conservation Fund in 1995 and its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 41 percent in 2017. This year, Disney announced that they will get rid of single-use plastic straws and stirrers in 2019.
Since Disney operates and owns many businesses all over the world, about 175 million straws will no longer be made every year. Plus, Disney already has plans to reduce plastic shopping bags in parks and cruise ships as well.
Multinational organization Servcorp launched its Green Offices Project to pay back to the environment with each sale. Known for providing Virtual and Serviced Offices, Servcorp made it their mission to plant one tree for every online sale of the Virtual Office.
Apart from reducing their carbon emissions, the project also includes information drives to educate both employees and clients about the environment. So far, the company has covered 100,000 square meters of land with 34,000 trees.
#3. Eco-City Project
The port city of Hamburg, Germany, launched the Eco-City Project to serve as a new standard for green development. The Eco-City is made to be self-sustaining through the use of several green technologies. These include huge and smaller, vertical wind turbines to power the city. Apart from wind energy, the Eco-City also utilizes solar technology to run the lights.
#4. Cone Exchange
The Cone Exchange is a community scrap store that’s been around in North Yorkshire, UK, since 2003. The store has an exchange program wherein schools and organizations can donate recyclable goods to earn credits, which can then be used to get donated scrap for arts and crafts. Plus, some of the scraps are turned into valuable products by volunteers and adults with learning difficulties.
In Sydney, Australia, a public housing project proved that sustainability and affordability can be in harmony. The Lilyfield Housing Development constructed 88 units with the environment in mind.
For example, each unit faces either the north or the east to take advantage of natural lighting and ventilation. This green development was eventually certified with a 5 Star Green Star rating — making it the first ever social housing project to get the recognition.
Many people are unaware of this, but the cement industry releases a lot of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Every 1000 kilograms of cement results in 900 kilograms of CO2.
By substituting some of the cement in the concrete mix with the waste product fly ash, the carbon footprint is reduced by up to 25 percent. Fly ash makes the concrete tough while giving it a distinct texture. Plus, using fly ash for concrete mix prevents it from being thrown in landfills.
Founded in 2013 by renowned inventor Boyan Slat in the Delft, Netherlands, The Ocean Cleanup is comprised of over 70 scientists, engineers, and other brilliant-minded people. Their primary goal is to remove all of the plastic in the world’s oceans.
The Ocean Cleanup uses a highly advanced passive drifting system to achieve their goal. This system takes advantage of the ocean currents to clean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The whole area spans over 600,000 square miles, but The Ocean Cleanup is poised to remove 50 percent of the trash in just five years.
The City of Chicago welcomes new development projects, especially if they have sustainability in mind. Projects that meet the criteria will have their permits processed faster and their costs possibly lowered. Thus, the government of Chicago encourages both big-time property developers and residential owners to invest in solar panels, geothermal energy systems, and other green technologies.
#9. Cool Pavements
Due to their color, dark pavements immediately become hot once exposed to sunlight. Dark pavements absorb up to 95 percent of sunlight and they aggravate global warming as a result. People residing in urban areas covered by dark pavements will suffer from the hot local temperature.
With solar reflective pavements, the air temperature becomes cooler. This also helps air conditioners to cool offices and residences with much less energy. As a bonus, the cool pavements prevent smog from immediately forming.
In the smoke-polluted city of Mexico, a hospital known as Torre de Especialidades uses a 100-yard-long structure to “eat” the smog. This facade is characterized by tiles made by a German architecture firm known as Elegant Embellishments.
These specialized tiles have a titanium dioxide coating, which makes them react to UV rays. Once sunlight reaches the tiles, a chemical reaction happens to make smog become less toxic. It doesn’t solve the city’s smog problem, but it ensures that the air near the hospital is cleaner.
Ships are known to consume a lot of fuel. A massive cruise ship alone will use about 250 tons of fuel every single day. This is why shipping companies must look for better energy sources. One company, Viking Cruises, had taken on the task of making a liquid hydrogen-powered cruise ship. If everything works out, the ship will have a zero-emission power source.
#12. Zero-Waste Fashion
On average, 40 percent of raw materials used in clothing factories are thrown away. In the cutting room, 15 percent of them are already discarded. The fashion industry is prone to fabric waste, but labels such as Tonle and Study New York are changing things for the better. These two labels are focusing on zero-waste fashion by reusing fabric waste and using efficient cutting methods.
Manufacturers produce goods and use up natural materials because of consumer demand. But what if it was a norm to rent goods instead of buying them? RentNotBuy is a website that gives people a platform to offer their own stuff without actually selling them. It’s a simple yet effective idea to stop people from buying things they won’t be using in the long run.
SolaRoad is composed of several companies and research labs working on carbon emission reduction. Their project aims to turn cycle lanes into a generator of solar electricity. The first experiment was done in Krommenie, the Netherlands, in 2014. By replacing a 70-meter bike path with thick-coated solar panels, over 300,000 people have contributed to solar electricity production just by using their bike or motorcycle.
In August 2011, the AK-1000 was positioned at the European Marine Energy Center in Orkney, Scotland. Atlantis Resource Corporation developed the 73 foot-tall turbine in the hopes of generating energy using the power of tides. It is the biggest and most powerful turbine of its kind, capable of powering over 1,000 homes with clean and renewable energy.
Around eight million tons of sewage sludge is created in Germany each year. While about 30 percent of this is reused for agricultural purposes, a good portion of the sewage sludge is incinerated.
Incineration plants specifically meant for treating sewage sludge are able to take raw materials such as phosphorus out of the sludge and use them to fertilize the soil. With the help of Siemens-owned NEM Energy, the SNB plant in the Netherlands now have turbines to efficiently generate electricity.
#17. Beyond Meat
The overall goal of Beyond Meat is simple: Give people all over the world a good tasting-plant protein to convince them to shift away from animal protein. After all, a single cow releases up to 120 kilograms of the greenhouse gas methane in the atmosphere each year.
By encouraging the consumption of plant protein, there would be less methane-producing livestock. In addition, Beyond Meat hopes to teach people about animal welfare and the dangers of factory farming.
Similar to Beyond Meat, Crike hope that the world will pay more attention to other sources of protein other than cows, pigs, and chickens. Crike wants people to eat crickets, but not in their natural form. Crike offers tasty crackers containing protein-packed cricket powder. Likewise, crickets only need 0.05 percent of the water that cows need while still offering the same amount of protein.
#19. Proper Job
Located in Devon, UK, Proper Job is a reuse center that gathers any items that can be sold instead of throw in landfills. People who check their reusable items not only help the environment but also save a lot of money. They can buy clothes and furniture at significantly low prices. Moreover, Proper Job teaches others to save the environment through training sessions and workshops.
#20. GEM Recycling
This organization was formed to handle packaging waste in an efficient and sustainable manner. GEM Recycling works with PET recycling company Ganesha Ecosphere Limited not only to collect waste but also to market and brand the recycled products. In fact, GEM Recycling can make shirts and bags out of PET bottles and other materials.
#21. Chakr Innovation
Air pollution is bad not only for the environment but also for one’s health. In India, Chakr Innovation developed the Chakr Shield. It’s a device that’s specifically made to manage the emissions of diesel generators. By using the Chakr Shield, more than 90 percent of the emissions will be captured. What you get is cleaner air without having your car’s performance affected.
#22. Sion Solar Car
Speaking of cars, the Sion is an electric car that runs on solar power. There are already many electric cars on the market, but what makes Sion unique is how it’s being mass-produced at a relatively affordable price of €16,000.
Instead of just placing solar cells on each side, they are also located on the roof, rear, and hood of the Sion Solar Car. You can use it day and night without ever worrying about harmful emissions.
#23. Carbon Engineering
How can carbon dioxide be captured if it’s already released into the atmosphere? Carbon Engineering uses Direct Air Capture or DAC Technology to get CO2 in the air. Once the carbon dioxide is collected, it can be turned into a clean synthetic fuel. Carbon Engineering’s green product is not only scalable but also competitively priced.
#24. Freshkills Park
Freshkills Park on Staten Island, New York, will be completed by 2036 and will become not only the largest park in NYC but also its biggest solar array. What’s amazing about the area is how it was once the world’s biggest landfill.
Now, wetlands and plants are being restored. Moreover, a solar array will be built to provide clean energy to 2,000 homes. Once the whole park is built, the city’s renewable energy capacity will increase by 50 percent.
The Agucadoura Wave Farm is located in Portugal and harnesses the power of waves to generate electricity. Developed by Pelamis Wave Power, having three generators can already provide 2.2 megawatts. Once completed, the project will provide electricity to over 15,000 homes while reducing more than 60,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
#26. Azura Wave
Just like the Agucadoura Wave Farm, the Azura Wave is intended to create renewable energy out of ocean waves. Callaghan Innovation first researched on the Wave Energy Technology New Zealand before Northwest Energy Innovations took notice and offered collaboration. What’s unique about this wave energy tech is how it gathers energy from both vertical and horizontal wave motions.
#27. K K Plastic Roads
Located in Bangalore, India, the KK Plastic Waste Management has a clear vision: To reuse plastic waste for road asphalting. The idea seems crazy, but the firm has a patented technology that allows for the use of plastic waste in constructing roads. Plus, their technology is certified both by the Center for Transportation Engineering and the Central Road Research Institute.
The company aims to help individuals and organizations in turning waste into useful products. It strives not only to design and develop green technology but also to market and implement them. By using their small-scale modular systems, any food and beverage waste can be converted to biofuel, fertilizer, and animal feed.
#29. Aquion Energy
Saltwater batteries are good for the planet because they are non-flammable and are easier to recycle. Aquion Energy makes arguably the best saltwater batteries.
Their products have a Cradle to Cradle Certification, which means that they are made with quality and the environment in mind. These clean-energy batteries have a minimalist design and barely have any operating costs.
#30. Sidewalk Labs
More and more rural areas are being converted into cities, so there must also be intensive research on sustainable practices in urban areas.
In Toronto, Canada, Sidewalk Labs is working with the local community and a government agency to develop a green mobility system. From point-to-point transportation to pedestrian-friendly pathways, Sidewalk Labs aims to significantly lower the amount of landfill waste and carbon emissions.
Established in 2009, Pavegen understands that people have to be convinced to adopt new technologies. This is why the company utilizes data and physical interaction to attract more clients. Now, there are 150 installations of their flooring system. With each step made, a person helps in producing off-grid electricity. Plus, the tiles have a wireless application program interface (API) to provide real-time data.
Giving flowers to your loved one can be impractical if it’s just going to the garbage bin after a few days. At the least, Veriflora ensures that flowers and potted plants are produced with sustainability in mind.
A flower or plant provider with a certification from Veriflora means that they practice sustainable horticulture. Thus, you won’t have to worry about your flowers being grown using harmful chemicals and exploitative labor.
#33. Sistine Solar
Solar panels are a good way to generate your own electricity and save money in the long run. However, it’s safe to say that they do not look aesthetically appealing.
To help market solar panels to more households, Sistine Solar is combining form with function. The company ensures that solar panels complement the overall design of one’s home. This way, more people will be enticed to invest in solar energy.
#34. Cultured Meat
This company is similar to Beyond Meat in how they both want the world to move away from animal farms. Livestock not only takes up a lot of land and other resources but they are significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.
Cultured Meat hopes to produce meat by culturing tissue instead of raising and slaughtering millions of animals. This way, people can still enjoy meat while prioritizing animal welfare and improving the agriculture system.
#35. Seabin Project
Apart from The Ocean Cleanup, there’s another initiative that hopes to clean the oceans. Surfers Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski now dedicate their lives to the Seabin Project. The product that the organization developed is a floating device. It’s meant to be installed in calm bodies of water. The device sucks water in and collects all the debris in a bag before releasing the water.
It’s recommended that people should replace their pillows once every six months or at least every 36 months for a memory foam pillow. This means that so many pillows are discarded to landfills and more are manufactured to meet the demand.
Pillow-Vac aims to keep your pillow in good shape for many years. It’s an automated system that removes dirt and dust while sanitizing and deodorizing the pillow. Afterward, the pillow becomes fluffy again and is placed in a new cotton ticking. The whole process takes a mere four minutes.
Established a century ago in 1918, Denver Water is the largest water utility in Colorado. Apart from providing water to 1.4 million people, the agency also encourages residential owners to practice xeriscaping.
This is a landscaping method that focuses on plants that are either native to the region or are well-adapted to the local climate. By using the right plants for their gardens, homeowners save on water and utility bills while promoting native plant species.
Like Aquion Energy, Skeleton Technologies wants to improve energy storage. In 2009, the company began developing ultracapacitors. Now, they have a patented raw material known as curved graphene in their ultracapacitors.
Businesses that invest in these ultracapacitors will save money through energy efficiency. Skeleton Technologies hopes that corporations from automotive to maritime industries will consider their product.
#39. Freight Farms
People should be given the opportunity to explore agriculture. With Freight Farms, individuals and groups can have grown their own produce no matter their location and time of the year.
As its name implies, Freight Farms provides shipping containers and digital features to help people run their own small farms. Through this venture, urban agriculture should become a viable option for more people.
#40. Iron Fertilization
This is an odd but effective way of managing carbon emissions. In 2004, researches tasked to conduct the European Iron Fertilization Experiment dumped iron sulfate in more than 160 square kilometers of the Southern Ocean.
This material leads to the explosion of algal blooms. When the algae take in the carbon and die, the carbon will be sent to the dark depths of the ocean and remain there for centuries.
#41. Sintala Design
Construction of wooden structures and products typically involves cutting down trees. This team led by Jose Luis Aranda ensures that wood products can be made in a sustainable manner. Sintala Design makes products out of solid wood but it does not cut down trees. Instead, the company collects fallen trees or wood fragments left from manufacturing operations.
As its name implies, EcoTales is about telling stories to people of all ages. Joe Churchman and Helen Martin have made a podcast dedicated to nature. Together, they talk about the wonders of nature and the severity of environmental issues. Kids won’t be bored by the podcast since EcoTales features whimsical characters such as Etta Earth, Ozzy Oceans, Polly Plastic, and Teddy Tree.
Cars are one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. The Virgin Hyperloop hopes to quickly transport as many as possible from one destination to another. This futuristic mode of transportation uses electric propulsion to make the vehicle float. Its speed can compete with airplanes and there are no direct carbon emissions. Plus, a self-driving vehicle to get rid of the pilot error.
Discarded or uneaten food is considered food waste, which then goes to landfills or composters. Instead of just throwing them out there, WISErg has a machine called the Harvester. Food scraps go into this innovative machine to be processed. With the Nutrient Recovery System, the nutrients in the food waste are collected and turned into organic liquid fertilizer — essentially helping new food crops to grow.
#45. The Oberlin Project
This green initiative was made possible not only by the City of Oberlin but also by educational, institutional, and private entities. It intends to significantly reduce the city’s carbon emissions by shifting to renewable energy.
The Oberlin Project hopes to conserve 20,000 acres of green space. More importantly, the initiative knows that the message must be carried to the future, so it also aims to teach students at all levels about the importance of sustainability.
One of the most important factors in sustainability is to ensure that people who have the lowest incomes can benefit from green projects as well. Solarkiosk hopes to provide base-of-the-pyramid (BoP) communities with clean energy and economic opportunities.
Apart from powering households that didn’t have electricity before through solar home systems, Solarkiosk will also provide people with other sustainable goods that are suited to their communities.
What if there was an incentive for organizations to utilize sustainable work and production methods? Oxyn is a cryptocurrency created to help environmental groups. Moreover, the cryptocurrency system does not consume a lot of energy to stay running.
Green organizations receive 0.5 percent of each Oxyn transaction to complete their green initiatives. Corporations could use Oxyn to verify where and how environmental groups spend the funds.
For three decades, the organization has collected surplus materials. Factories, shops, offices, and even homes have excess goods to offer. The Squirrels Community Scrap Scheme gathers these items for display at The Old Allotment Hut in Worcester Park, London.
Here, over 300 organizations that pay a small annual membership fee can choose from a variety of donated surplus materials. This prevents otherwise good products from going to waste.
#49. London Array
Led by three companies known for their ventures on renewable energy, the London Array is the biggest offshore wind farm in the world. It’s a testament to human ingenuity and how the vast waters can be used to gather solar energy. It began operations in April 2013. Since then, it has generated enough power to supply electricity to half a million households.
#50. Public Water Fountains
Back in the day, it was easy to spot a water fountain where anyone could take a quick sip of clean water. Today, people are more likely to drink water from plastic bottles. Every single day, about 60 million of these bottles are thrown in landfills or incinerators.
By creating public water fountains, the #OneLess bottle campaign in London hopes to convince people to ditch plastic bottles. Instead, people can have a refillable water container. About 20 fountains will be installed and researchers will analyze data to determine where they should be placed next.
#51. Recycle with Clarity
Founded in 2011, the Recycle with Clarity Initiative works with a network of partner sites to recycle waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). This type of waste should not be discarded carelessly since they contain harmful chemicals that can result in toxic fumes once burnt. If the products are still in good condition, they can be refurbished for reuse.
#52. World Community Grid
Coordinated by IBM, the World Community Grid is a software that can be downloaded and used by anyone. What is its purpose? Well, it’s a clever way for individuals to help scientists solve the world’s most important problems.
From issues in sustainability to health, scientists need more computing power to accelerate their research. By being a volunteer, you allow your device to allocate a negligible portion of its computing power to the World Community Grid.
Complex calculations about global warming and climate change can be solved in years instead of decades. Ideally, scientists will find the best solutions to saving the planet with a little bit of help from everyone.
Overall, there are a lot of green initiatives happening all over the world that contribute in small and big ways to save our planet. From educating the public about climate change to developing the most advanced green technology, each one has the capacity to make the world a better place.