Water is a new realm for climate action and represents a relatively easy fix, following nature's model
As climate action finally begins in the United States in earnest, leaders face a maze of choices. The data keep coming in, and shifting, and sometimes changing. An example: methane is 21 times more impactful than carbon dioxide, per our EPA. Yet other credible and science-based entities state it’s 67 times more impactful, or 89 times. The fact that methane does not sustain in our atmosphere the same length of time as carbon dioxide does complicate quantifying its impact. We long for the day we can rely on data based on factual, empirical, nonpolitical science.
A functional wetland, up watershed from a lake, can spell the difference between a healthy lake that’s resistant to Harmful Algae Blooms, and a lake that is both vulnerable to HABs and on its way out.
Fishing for bass among BioHavens is an exciting strategy for algae reduction on Fish Fry Lake
Manmade nutrients are being unleashed against water at pandemic volumes. We have no choice but to fix this, unless we are prepared to dig our own graves. The benefits outweigh the costs.
Floating Islands Help Fish Grow and Prevent Algae from Growing
Manatees in Florida feed on coastal seagrass, a species at risk from phosphorus surge
On one occasion, ironically, in Clear Water, Florida, I experienced their passive and gentle presence. Unequivocally, the nuances around their life model require hard science. But it seems like, today at least, human political divisions are being superseded by the manatee. We are putting political division aside, in order to save a remarkable species.
The Popularity of Floating Solar Makes the Possibility of Cleaning Up Water Real
Nature-as-model, biomimicry, is the gentle arm-twister that pulls us towards sustainability
In a confused floating solar market, BioHavens offer a ray of hope for water quality that makes floating solar feasible and sustainable
Biomimicry - nature as model - will steer a course through the vagaries of human endeavor towards sustainable living
Is it true… can we grow new real estate and take a bite out of greenhouse gas emissions in the process?
Who would challenge the obvious truth, the basic statement that “they aren’t making more real estate”? It’s clear in the general public’s mind that real estate is finite. Right? But is it? Since 2005, Floating Island International has “launched” 10,000 pieces of real estate around the planet - some large, some small, all of them representing new “land” that wasn’t there before. And these new islands actually grow over time, and as they grow, they fight climate change.
It is almost 50 years since the Clean Water Act so why is water more polluted than ever?
Biomimicry works for profit too!
Aesthetics and Floating Solar combine in ecological engineering success.
Impaired freshwater releases greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.
Recent developments in floating solar provide hope for the future of water
Having been afforded the opportunity to make a difference relative to water management, (after all, I have my own research laboratory in Fish Fry Lake) recent developments are exciting. Here’s what I’m talking about:
It’s one of the few places in NYC with enough space to allow for green infrastructure innovation to merge with environmental justice, generate solar energy and clean up water, while providing an educational opportunity for locals.
A friend recently sent me an article by Drew Costly that describes a movement to transition Rikers Island, a prison and psychiatric center on a 400-acre island on NYC’s East River, into a green infrastructure demonstration site, a place where individuals from local communities of color can experience alternative environmental action. Such opportunities are rare, and to be prized. A trio of city council members, Costa Constantinides, Helen Rosenthal and Ben Kallos, introduced legislation that became the “Renewable Rikers Act.” The City Council has committed to the plan, and the current prison that is Rikers Island is scheduled to come offline by 2026.
It’s one of the few places in NYC with enough space to allow for green infrastructure innovation to merge with environmental justice, and the vision is for this island to become a green oasis of sorts to generate solar energy and clean up water, while providing an educational opportunity for locals.
There are many rewards to keeping water healthy, including delicious fresh fish
With the ongoing transition from obtuse and flat-out harmful environmental stewardship associated with Donald Trump, FII has quantified some of the impact of eutrophic, nutrient enriched agricultural water relative to greenhouse gas emissions. In a nutshell, by teaming with BioHaven’s nutrient reduction capacity, the Floating Photovoltaic (FPV) game can see bigger wins with carbon credit reduction revenue. By transitioning nutrient rich water, already at pandemic levels in the developed world (in particular here in the U.S.) FPV launches will qualify for carbon credit revenue.
There are other “applications” for BioHaven’s tried and true capabilities. These include key habitat expansion for critical biota, like pollinators and the growth of native sport fish. Safeguards the world's natural capital, and promises biodiversity! But FPV has not, to this point, been a water quality pitch.
Our company has thousands of island launches under its belt, compared to just hundreds by the entire FPV industry. FII is the American embodiment of constructed wetland, but much more resilient, more versatile, and has a minimal footprint, particularly in the form of real estate, required to pull off a BioHaven water quality solution.
The most invariably resilient lifeforms are some of Mother Nature's many prototypes.
Human-scale thinking relative to durability and resilience does not necessarily track with environmental reality. Humans and our science are caught up in intellectual inertia. Here’s a quick, but fundamental example: Today many wetland experts are operating within a belief system that is focused on a mistake. They believe that nature’s food web is initiated by plant life, specifically, by phytoplankton. In fact, in freshwater, this presumption is almost always wrong.
First-hand experience of nutrient pollution led us to biomimicry to help solve water's problems
In farming, stewardship is fundamental. It must include water. When it doesn’t, nature steps in and provides niche biota that fill every biotic opportunity with some form of life.
COVID and Basic Health
As our nation transitions through COVID we’ve learned several lessons. People of color are more vulnerable to this particular virus. A higher proportion of this fraction of our population dies when exposed. But think back on the original news blasts about COVID: The luxury cruise liner, the Diamond Princess, where essentially 700 out of 3,711 became infected, and fourteen died over the space of several weeks. None of us knows for sure whether we will survive and sustain through this virus, if and when we are exposed. But we have learned several critical lessons over the last ten months.
I applaud movement by NREL to track the disposition of some 800 million metric tons (currently) of solar panels as they near end-of-life. NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) is leading research around floating photovoltaic (FPV) development in North America. Part of this is taking a realistic look at the longevity of FPV. The panels include valuable forms of silica and other precious materials that represent recycling opportunities associated with their 30-year design life.
Recent movement towards floating photovoltaic installations makes development of effective solar recycling policy particularly critical. Also, assuring the longevity of FPV. We can’t have potentially toxic materials contaminating precious waterways, particularly hydroelectric reservoirs that are frequently used as drinking water sources.
Floating Island International (FII) currently targets a sixty-year design life of its floating treatment wetland modules, BioHavens, some 9,000 of which have been launched since 2005. Our movement towards an extended usable life of our proprietary floating islands primarily used to increase natural wetland effect associated with improved water quality, may facilitate useful life extension for solar panels as well. Longevity of FPV could be extended by including our BioHaven technology in the design plan.
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