Author: Jared Wolf

Musician, Thinker, Problem-Solver. Venture for America '19
  1. Energy and Environment
  2. Planet
  3. Tech
  4. Water

What's the situation? A stricken ship has leaked over 1,000 tons of oil over the coast of Mauritius. Experts fear that the ship may soon break in half, which could have devastating effects on the surrounding environment.

How did it happen? It is believed that harsh weather conditions caused the leak.

Who caused it? The cracked vessel, MV Wakashio, is operated by the Japanese Mitsui OSK Lines.

More facts The spill occurred near two environmentally protected marine ecosystems, as well as the Blue Bay Marine Park reserve. There are also mangrove plantations and well-known beaches nearby.

Threatened birds, captive fruit bats, and thousands of plants were removed from a nearby island, Ile aux Aigrettes by conservation activists.

Using technology to mitigate spills Human error is the leading cause for maritime accidents.

By integrating AI into the complicated world of global transportation, we can reduce and possibly even eliminate the risks associated with long-distance, heavy-duty shipping routes.

AI can…

  • Use predictive analysis to prevent spills
  • Expedite response-time
  • Mitigate risks for clean-up efforts

Bottom line Using AI in shipping and clean-ups lessens the risk of future spills, and reduces the impact of existing disasters.

Dig deeper → 5 min

  1. Better Business
  2. Business
  3. Profit

What to know American aluminum can suppliers are experiencing a shortage. Unpredictable consumer behavior and increased demand led suppliers to miss production levels and now beverage brands must scramble to compete for what's left.

Why it matters The overall shift from single-use plastics has also led major drink makers to shift from plastic bottles to aluminum cans. And while aluminum cans don't last in the atmosphere forever, they still can have damning effects on waste management. We are living in a world where China doesn't want our trash anymore, and recyclable aluminum cans are more of a band-aid solution of a larger problem.

The silver lining Consider it a stress test. With real-world examples about the fragility of our global system in place, we can now create applicable solutions outside the classroom.

Key recommendations for the shortage

  1. Brands can adapt by providing bulk alternatives to the traditional 12 oz can.
  2. Brands can also educate consumers on the label about the importance of maintaining a can's shape for recycling purposes. I was a beer can crusher in college, and I had no clue that crushing a beer can would make it near impossible to recycle.
  3. To consumer, do you love beer? Me too. Go to your local brewery, and fill up a growler. You can fill up a lot of beer for a great price, straight from the tap. You can support a local business, and the beer tastes fantastic if you pick the right brewer. There are more quality independent breweries out there today than ever before.

Dig deeper → 1 min

  1. Better Brands
  2. Better Business
  3. Business
  4. Profit
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  1. Energy and Environment
  2. Lifestyle
  3. People
  4. Thinking

The scoop Market research firm JD Power released a new index based on environmental, social and governance (ESG).

Key findings

  • Consumer awareness and engagement with utility climate initiatives are very low
  • Most concerned cities: NYC, LA and Portland are most concerned cities on climate change
  • Climate change skeptics: Wyoming and Alabama have the largest percentages of climate change skeptics
  • Business customers more engaged in sustainability than residential customers

Why it matters Sustainability has a communication and education problem. Companies in traditional industries like electricity need to adapt marketing initiatives to match 21st century tools, and communicate better with consumers.

Dig deeper → 2 min

  1. Better Business
  2. Business
  3. Profit

The billion-dollar banana maker announced an ambitious plan to eliminate fossil-based plastic packaging by 2025, and reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Dole's plan Turn food waste into repurposed solutions like...

  1. Pineapple skin packaging
  2. New snacks made from rejected fruit
  3. Facilities powered by food waste converted into electricity.

What to expect Other major food producers will respond. The goal-setting sustainability trend continues, and only time will tell whether R&D goal-making converts into tangible results.

In the meantime, you can feel a little bit better about your next purchase of a Nicaraguan-born Dole banana.

Dig deeper --> 1 min

  1. Lifestyle
  2. People
  3. Thinking

Lesson 1: Reduce or remove your vulnerability to ‘the system’

The globalized world today has allowed for the rapid spread of ideas, knowledge, goods, services, and people. Unfortunately, globalization has also proliferated the pandemic we face today. The interconnected world creates many issues, but also allows us to collaborate and work together to come up with innovative ways to solve crises that arise from that inter-connectivity.

Lesson 2: No one can bring you peace but yourself

The global pandemic is a perfect example of a time in which things outside of us can stifle our ability to live a life the way we see fit. You didn’t create the virus, you didn’t spread it, and if you’re one of the many people feeling stuck in your home right now, you may feel helpless ‘doing the right thing’ and watching others directly impact your experiences by not listening to authorities.

Lesson 3: 'Sustainability' is timeless

The principles of self-reliance and sustainability are timeless. Those words of Emerson ring true today. He had a deep passion for Nature and felt placing ourselves in the natural world, away from society, was the key to dropping the ego and living a more fulfilling life. The way I see it, he was practicing sustainability in his time.

Dig deeper → 8 min
  1. Better Brands
  2. Business
  3. Profit

Key factors Most of Lulu’s materials are not eco-friendly.

Their sustainable packaging policy includes steps to keep packaging to a minimum. The Climate & Sustainability section of their website is buried on the bottom, so it's not a centerpiece of their marketing. Here at Sustainable Review we are passionate about doing > saying , but if Lululemon was really doing something great around sustainability, it would be the focal point of their brand.

Bottom line This company has been around for too long to not be doing more for environmental impact. Not bad. but less talking and more doing, please.

  1. Doing
  2. Lifestyle
  3. People

How do we stop the single-use plastic craze during a pandemic? What does a post-pandemic world look like for plastic?

What to know More people are buying single-use plastic since the pandemic started.

Why it matters It took decades for sustainability to gain serious traction, and a matter of weeks to destroy some real progress on the way we live. People are buying delivery, shopping online, and throwing single-use items away more than ever before. That means a lot of waste to be managed in the coming years. We need to reconsider how we evaluate short term versus long term risk.

Big picture Yes, PPE is important. Yes, oil is cheap. And for now, it makes good business sense to produce plastic because it is cheaper. Yes, I know your business may be struggling and you need to save every dollar possible to make ends meet.

But, if you are in any way, shape or form invested in the long-term well-being of this planet and/or your business, you must take a deeper look at our business models, processes, and impacts to determine whether it is hurting or helping the big blue-green planet and its constituents.

Dig deeper → 5 min

  1. Big Tech
  2. Profit
  3. Tech

The short answer The rollout of the 5G cellular network requires A LOT of energy. In the United States, much of that energy comes from natural gas and fossil fuels. Higher demand for energy = more gas & oil = more environmental issues.

What we know 5G emits high-frequency (millimeter waves) between 30Ghz and 300Ghz and requires antennas to be in close proximity. Due to the lack of far-reaching signals, 5G will not replace 4G LTE completely. 5G, for now at least, will serve as a complementary tool to its predecessor. This means more radiation in the air and atmosphere.

Big picture 5G requires exponentially more towers and more energy than 4G in order to function properly. This means more radiation, that we don’t understand the long-term consequences of, and more gas and oil consumption, which we do understand the consequences of.

Why it matters It boils down to four words: your health + environmental impact. Research varies widely on the subject from A-Okay to Doomsday.

Some experts point to the fact that 5G EMF radiation is non-iodizing, meaning it does not carry enough energy to iodize atoms or molecules, but the International Agency for Research on Cancer recently stated that there is still a potential risk to humans for this kind of exposure.

While there is still uncertainty on the degree to which 5G radiation can impact health, the fact remains that it has an effect. What is not uncertain, however, is the massive amounts of natural resources needed to power this far-reaching network.  We should be hesitant to make our homes, businesses and cities ‘smart’ at the cost of future generations.

Next steps

 If you are concerned, consider the following steps:

  • Protect yourself by limiting exposure to 5G-enabled devices when possible. 
  • Sign a petition to delay the deployment of the 5G wireless network until institutions understand and enact regulations in accordance with the potential health hazards and environmental impact.

Dig Deeper → 5 min

  1. Earth Week
  2. Energy and Environment
  3. Planet
Welcome to the second installment in our Earth Day series, the 1980s. The decade started with a win for environmental justice and the literal “defining moment” for sustainable development. Everything was bigger in the 1980s – big hair, leg warmers, and boom boxes, big phones, big junk bonds and trading scandals, and, of course, the advent of MTV and personal computing. It also may have been the decade in which we “lost Earth”. The second half of the decade included one of the most successful international environmental negotiations and brought climate change and its impacts to the public consciousness for the first time. This is Earth Day, 1980s edition.
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