The Great Green Wall of Africa : Is the the next wonder of the world?

 

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“The Great Green Wall promises to be a real game-changer.”

Africa’s Sahara Desert is growing.

In 2018 it was found that the Sahara, the biggest desert in the world after Antarctica and the Arctic, had increased in size by 10 per cent over the last century. This expansion is due to a combination of man-made climate change and natural climate cycles, with most of the change happening along the northern and southern edges of the desert.

Desertification is a major problem around the world, not least in the Sahel region (which runs from the southern belt of the Sahara to the Sudanian savanna below) where some of the world’s poorest communities reside. Despite the Global North being the most significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, it is people like those living in the Sahel who are paying the price.

The Sahel community are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, dealing with persistent droughts, famines, and rapidly depleting natural resources on an ongoing basis. As a result, millions of people across the region, from Senegal to Djibouti, are being left to handle the severe repercussions of the climate emergency without much help.

This is where the Great Green Wall comes in, a project that could save an entire region from ecological collapse.

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These tree-planting drones are firing ‘seed missiles’ into the ground. Less than a year later, they’re already 20 inches tall.

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 Technology is the single greatest contributor to climate change but it may also soon be used to offset the damage we’ve done to our planet since the Industrial Age began.

In September 2018, a project in Myanmar used drones to fire “seed missiles” into remote areas of the country where trees were not growing. Less than a year later, thousands of those seed missiles have sprouted into 20-inch mangrove saplings that could literally be a case study in how technology can be used to innovate our way out of the climate change crisis.

“We now have a case confirmed of what species we can plant and in what conditions,” Irina Fedorenko, co-founder of Biocarbon Engineering, told Fast Company. “We are now ready to scale up our planting and replicate this success.”

Continue reading… “These tree-planting drones are firing ‘seed missiles’ into the ground. Less than a year later, they’re already 20 inches tall.”

Tarzan the swinging robot could be the future of farming

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Some farmers already use drones to monitor their crops, but a team of researchers from Georgia Tech have created a far more interesting alternative. Instead of designing yet another drone, they created a robot inspired by Kristen Bell’s favorite animal: the sloth. However, they named it “Tarzan” after the most recognizable character who moves by swinging from vine to vine.

Their machine was designed to move like the fictional jungle dweller. Tarzan will be able to swing over crops using its 3D-printed claws and parallel guy-wires stretched over fields. It will then take measurements and pictures of each plant with its built-in camera while suspended.
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Researchers grow heart tissue on spinach leaves

In this sequence, a spinach leaf is stripped of its plant cells, a process called decellularization, using a detergent. The process leaves behind the leaf’s vasculature. Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) were able to culture beating human heart cells on such decelluralized leaves. Credit: Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Researchers face a fundamental challenge as they seek to scale up human tissue regeneration from small lab samples to full-size tissues, bones, even whole organs to implant in people to treat disease or traumatic injuries: how to establish a vascular system that delivers blood deep into the developing tissue.

Current bioengineering techniques, including 3-D printing, can’t fabricate the branching network of blood vessels down to the capillary scale that are required to deliver the oxygen, nutrients and essential molecules required for proper tissue growth. To solve this problem, a multidisciplinary research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Arkansas State University-Jonesboro have successfully turned to plants. They report their initial findings in the paper “Crossing kingdoms: Using decelluralized plants as perfusable tissue engineering scaffolds” published online in advance of the May 2017 issue of the journal Biomaterials.

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Cyborg Roses Could Be Used To Grow Computer Systems

Imagine you could inject a special, electrically conductive fluid into a rose, which then spreads out through the plant and grows into it. Imagine creating an entire garden or forest of cyborg plants that act as a gigantic, biological computer network.

Well, imagine no more – scientists from Sweden’s Linköping University have successfully managed to perform the former, while looking forward to the latter in the future.

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Ikea just launched a DIY flat-pack indoor garden that can feed a whole lot of people at once

Swedish architects Mads-Ulrik Husum and Sine Lindholm collaborated with Space10, Ikea’s innovation lab, to design a piece of living furniture that can feed quite a few people, from the looks of it.

Called the Growroom, it’s a flat-pack spherical garden that grows plants, veggies, and herbs.

“Standing tall as a spherical garden, it empowers people to grow their own food much more locally in a beautiful and sustainable way,” its designers write on Medium.

Though Space10 launched the Growroom in late 2016, the designers just made the plans open-source. You can download the instruction manual on Space10’s site.

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A glimpse into farming IoT

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There may be no industry better suited for the IoT than agriculture, because every farm varies just a little from its next-door neighbor. Soil fertility, elevation, ground slope, moisture content — the list goes on and on — all make a difference. If you could collect data on all that stuff, it might make the difference between getting a bumper crop or an average crop out of your fields. Not surprisingly, the big agriculture companies all smell opportunity in the wind. That’s why….

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Nanobionic spinach plants detect explosives

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Spinach is no longer just a superfood. By embedding leaves with carbon nanotubes, MIT engineers have transformed spinach plants into sensors that can detect explosives and wirelessly relay that information to a handheld device similar to a smartphone.

After sensing dangerous chemicals, the carbon-nanotube-enhanced plants send an alert.

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IKEA wants to help restaurants build their own indoor farms

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The furniture chain is getting into the sustainable farming industry, one restaurant kitchen at a time.

Swedish home furnishing giant IKEA is known for its simple, affordable furniture that populates dorm rooms and studio apartments across the country. Now, the furniture chain is hoping to get into the sustainable farming industry, one restaurant kitchen at a time.

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Monsanto is cultivating a rose that won’t wilt

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Monsanto is using a genetic technology that can feed plants through vase water for anti-aging technology for flowers . The St. Louis biotech company, known for its transgenic corn and soybeans, and for being the target of anti-GMO campaigners, disclosed in a patent application that it’s now testing a new way of stopping roses, carnations, and petunias from wilting.

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Japanese automated farm expanding in size and types of vegetables

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Spread, a Japanese company in the agricultural industry, is expanding into the 21st century. Spread’s automated vertical farm has gained it a lot of fame and now it looks to open new locations and grow new kinds of produce. Vertical farming is quickly emerging across the world and some are even moving into supermarket’s produce section.

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