January 20, 2017

Ensuring clean water for everyone on the planet is one of the major environmental challenges facing future generations. In this video, a Chilean engineer demonstrates his invention that draws vapor from the air and turns it into drinkable water. If he succeeds in making the machine smaller and cheaper, it could provide an immense benefit to communities that lack access to clean water.

Questions:

  1. Why does Hector Pino need to continue refining his product?
  2. Once fully developed, should Pino form Continue reading
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January 5, 2017

AndrewMagillWhen David Malcolm took over his family’s sprinkler system business in 1992, he intended to run the company the same way that his father had over the last few decades. But that soon changed once he picked up an old project that his dad started just before he died: finding another use for a low-flow sprinkler designed for farming. At first Malcolm thought he solved the problem by installing the sprinkler heads on hoses and using them to patch up Continue reading

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November 3, 2016

DanPhifferSince its founding in 1973, the outdoor apparel brand Patagonia has strived to make quality goods in an ethical manner. This combination of strong values and superior products has allowed the company to grow into an $800 million brand. But over the years Patagonia has run into a number of roadblocks in their quest to “build the best product” and “cause no unnecessary harm.” For example, in 2010 an animal rights group revealed that the company had been buying goose Continue reading

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October 27, 2016

Although the world’s population is always increasing, the physical size of the globe stubbornly remains the same. As a result, humans might soon face a shortage of some key resources, including food with high protein content. But here’s where the humble cricket hops in: while many Americans may consider them pests, crickets can be a nutritious and environmentally sustainable food source. This video takes a look at the ways one cricket farm operates and how its owners hope to market Continue reading

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September 2, 2016

As Americans become more health conscious eaters, food companies have taken advantage of this trend by producing an abundance of items labelled “organic” and “natural.” However, one of these words is not like the other. This video takes a look at what “natural” means when it appears on food packaging and how this potentially misleading word could soon be subject to stricter regulation.

Questions:

 

  1. What is the difference between the words “organic” and “natural” when it comes to food Continue reading
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August 22, 2016

WomenDressedForAWedding_MMIn 2012, MIT student Amrita Saigal chose to tackle a largely unaddressed health issue for a project in her product design class. She hoped to create a low-cost method to distribute clean, reliable sanitary pads for women across India. The subject of feminine hygiene remains largely taboo on the subcontinent with studies showing that 88 percent of menstruating women are forced to use crude homemade remedies like rags or newspapers. Saigal’s idea centered on a sanitary pad machine that would Continue reading

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August 9, 2016

As the U.S. craft beer market has grown over the years, breweries that were once seen as upstarts to larger rivals are now becoming established institutions themselves. But while this is great news for many thirsty Americans, the beer boom has not been as kind to local water supplies. In this video, Bloomberg takes a look at how California’s Half Moon Brewing Company is experimenting with a sustainable system that uses Continue reading

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June 14, 2016

The rapid rise of Asian manufacturing has transformed nations like China and India into economic powerhouses as well as environmental nightmares. World health experts estimate that millions of people have died due to excessive air pollution in these two countries. So far government officials have done little to relieve their increasingly stifled citizens, leading many to turn to a variety of consumer products for help. Along with pollution masks and air purifiers, a growing number of people are also purchasing Continue reading

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April 29, 2016

A few years ago, we took a look at the confusing nature of “sell by” dates printed on food packaging. Many often assume that these numbers show when a particular item will spoil and thus become inedible. On the whole, however, sell by dates indicate when food starts to become less flavorful, not dangerous to eat. As a result, each year thousands of people as well as supermarkets toss tons of otherwise edible food into the trash.

While changing the Continue reading

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April 28, 2016

The rising demand for locally sourced food has placed some major cities in an awkward position. While farm-to-table eating interests many consumers in major urban centers, their location away from rural areas can sometimes make it difficult to obtain the right ingredients. To fix this supply problem, in recent years enterprising farmers have been moving into cities to cultivate their crops in unconventional places. Gotham Greens, for instance, operates four rooftop greenhouses located throughout New York City, including one that Continue reading

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