Is London ready to deal with climate change?

May 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Scene of the film the FloodScene from Flood, a 2007 British film, based on a novel by Richard Doyle.

Do not panic, it is not a real picture! It is an image from a film called ‘Flood’. Unfortunately every day humankind moves ever closer to the effects of climate change spectacularly demonstrated in disasters films such as the one mentioned above or ‘The day after tomorrow’

London has many reasons to be worried about the effects of climate change. Firstly, it is vulnerable to flooding from the North Sea, the Thames River and heavy rainfall. According to the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy published by the Mayor of London, peak river levels of the Thames and its tributaries are projected to rise by nearly a third in less than a decade. That means putting more than 1 million people at risk! While the city does cope with a system of flood walls, gates and drains to protect it from flooding, it seems that it may not be enough to hold off the rising waters.

Secondly, London is vulnerable to hot weather events like droughts and heatwaves. Even if it sounds ironic as London is considered at risk of heavy rainfall, it is also considered, to be one of the driest capital in the world. London is the driest region of UK and actually has less water person than other hotter countries. Again, according to the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy by the year 2050, average temperatures during the summer will be as hot as the temperatures felt in the 2003 heatwave, which killed around 2,000 people in UK.

Bernie Spain Gardens May 2011An example of hot weather event in London. Bernie Spain Gardens in May 2011

So, do not stay obliviously  at home thinking that climate change will not affect you because you live in the ‘first world’, climate change affects everyone. Join the bloomtrigger project and become a part of the solution!

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Eco-Design: Bio-Light your home with bioluminescent bacteria!

April 28, 2012 § 2 Comments

Phillips Bio-Light Design Concept (Credit: Phillips)

The production and use of energy is a hot topic in the environmental world with the quest for more sustainable and eco-friendly sources while also limiting the emitting of harmful gases and waste. Large-scale efforts to change the way we acquire our energy, from such methods as burning fossil fuels or nuclear power to wind power or hydropower, are not the only actions that can be taken out.

Bio-Light is a design concept created by Phillips that explores the use of bioluminescent bacteria to create low-light ambiance or fluorescent proteins for more frequencies of light. This idea of bio-light is a part of Phillips’ greater design concept of the Microbial Home Probe Project where the solutions for cleaning, energy, food preservation, lighting and human waste are explored through a more eco-friendly and sustainable way. Bio-light is designed to not only lower the extent of energy needed but also recycle waste and the methane created from the waste to feed the bioluminescent bacteria.

The bioluminescent bacteria fed through silicon tubes (Credit: Phillips)

The design involves hand blown glass cells supported by a steel frame where each cell contains the bioluminescent bacteria.  As the light is quite low-intensity and the nature of living bacteria limits the ability to produce light quickly, the use of bio-light is less suitable for practical lighting. However this does not diminish its importance and potential as it has promising use for tracing, warning, ambiance and indication lighting. Examples of such use are night-time road markings,  information signs in low-light settings (eg. cinemas, clubs, etc.), or mood lighting.

Even if bio-light cannot necessarily be used for practical lighting, having one of these bad boys in your living room, bedroom, dining room or wherever would definitely have an interesting effect on the décor. As this is only a design concept, the possibilities of what the bioluminescent bacteria might do in differing environments is unknown. The bioluminescent bacteria is a living thing and living things are often affected by their surrounding environment, therefore bio-light has the potential to produce some fascinating unpredictable results.

By Abby Taylor

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