A guest blog from Richard Page of Carbon Prophet, a winner of our 2013 Environment Challenge. Several of our winners from various challenges have already begun to make use of the Geovation Hub and find it a great place to work, network, innovate, and share ideas.
It is always exciting to be asked to attend the launch of something and so, when an email dropped into my inbox inviting me to the launch of the all new Geovation Hub, I quickly accepted.
For those who don’t know, the Hub is designed to be a collaborative space where geographers, developers, challenge winners and others can come together to ensure that winning ideas can access all the support that they need to make a success of their projects.
So, it was with real excitement that I found myself, at 5pm on a Thursday evening, being escorted into the Geovation Hub. I won’t go into the details of the evening that will be done in much more detail by others, but I do want to explain why I feel that the Hub is important.
World Environment Day was established in 1973 and takes place annually on 5 June. The event is organised by the United Nations Environment Programme, each year around a different theme. The theme this year is sustainable consumption and production.
Things have been getting very exciting for GeoCraft over the past few months!
We have been busy creating maps and educational resources for teachers to use with their students of interesting places around the UK. We were able to launch our first free resources for key stage 2 and key stage 3 teachers on glaciated features on Mount Snowdon in February. This teaches pupils about the glaciation process before they re-building the glacier that once existed on Snowdon using Minecraft. The map and resource can be downloaded free from our website.
We’re launching our next Geography resource for our Snowdon map next. This resource teaches pupils about compasses, coordinates and grid references as through a series of activities, including building their own compass in Minecraft.
Business rates do not cover waste and recycling services, meaning that businesses must manage their own own. Contamination causes 30% of recyclable waste to be sent to landfill each year. Sorting recyclable waste reduces contamination and increases its value.
The Green Alchemist provides details on waste couriers in the UK; pricing on recyclable materials; an auction facility for used furniture, electronic goods and recyclable waste; and products to help businesses recycle, such as the Green Pod. Businesses can use The Green Alchemist to auction quantities of recyclable waste or to request quotes for its collection; and waste couriers can use it to locate businesses with sorted recyclable waste for sale or collection. Householders can also use the app to locate recycling facilities in their area and the website to sell secondhand furniture and used goods. Continue reading 'The Green Alchemist empowers businesses to recycle'»
They say inspiration can strike in the most unusual places. For me my eureka moment came three years ago while trying to maneuver my son’s buggy around the piles of dog poo littering the streets near my home.
Everyone deserves to live in a nice environment and as studies have shown, dog fouling can really bring neighbourhoods down, deterring both investment and visitors.
I was incensed that some irresponsible dog owners refused to clear up after their pets but I was also struck by the waste. In nature nothing is wasted, but we humans have an annoying habit of just burying things in the ground instead of doing something useful with them. What a waste of natural assets!
Dog poo, just like sewage and farm manure is an excellent feedstock for anaerobic digestion – a biological process that produces bio gas for heating and creating electricity. It’s a technology that’s been around for decades, but as energy prices soar and the impact on our climate of burning fossil fuels becomes apparent, government and industry alike are looking to anaerobic digestion as an important part of the renewable energy strategy. Continue reading 'Streetkleen: Helping make Britain a better place to live'»
Todays guest blog is by Richard Page, of Carbon Prophet, one of our winners from our Challenge in May 2013: ‘How do we help British business improve environmental performance’ – supported by the Environment Agency. Carbon Prophet were awarded £29,000 and also won the Community Award of £1,000.
AR Carbon received the final tranche of its GeoVation grant funding. As we are seven months into our project ‘Carbon Prophet’ and looking to launch ourselves into the open market, it seems the ideal time to see how things are progressing.
Our project is all about encouraging farmers to rebuild the natural fertility of their soils. One of the most obvious ways of achieving this is to encourage the use of compost as a source of nutrients and as a way of improving soil structure. Obviously we don’t want to use peat-based composts, so we need to find significant supplies of an alternative and that means using green waste compost. Unfortunately, this is not as straightforward as you might think; most green waste compost needs significant work to improve it before it is suitable for use on commercial farms. So, in order to ensure sufficient supplies of a quality product, we have opened negotiations with a number of local authorities to work with them to improve the product that they produce and we aim to have high quality green waste compost available for the start of spring 2015.
Waiting to hear if my proposal was one of the four winners for the GeoVation competition was the most nail-biting moment of my life. Element Green Recycling’s Green Alchemist project was the fourth name to be announced! I was cool on the outside when I stood up to collect our prize and smile at the camera, but I was doing cartwheels on the inside. Two days of working hard at the camp, refining and redeveloping my business idea had paid off. Continue reading 'Element Green Recycling – The Journey so far'»
GeoCraft enables schools and local businesses to work together to encourage learning about sustainability through Minecraft, a hugely popular video game set in virtual 3D worlds made up of cubes of different materials. Using Ordnance Survey data, it would stimulate children to think about environmental challenges and ideas to solve these, and could be fed back to the local business to implement. Zoe tells us what’s been happened since winning funding form GeoVation.
‘That was the best lesson ever!’
This is music to the ears of any teacher and something that I’ve been lucky enough to hear on many occasions in the last few months as I have been trialing our GeoCraft project with the Year 6 pupils at Yorston Lodge School.
Pupils’ delight in and enthusiasm for the club has been palpable and their feedback and suggestions for improving the project has been invaluable.
Building the Tatton Park mansion as part of our work on Knutsford
“It’s been 6 months since Streetkleen Bio were announced as a winner of the GeoVation Environmental Challenge.”
“Wow” is the general consensus in the office when I make others aware of this fact….
….But what a 6 months it has been!
Let’s start by looking back….
1. understanding of a situation or event only after it has happened or developed.
As Founder and Managing Director of Streetkleen Bio Ltd I can honestly say that entering the GeoVation Challenge was one of, if not the single best decision I/we have made as an organisation.
Dr John Walsh and Gary Downie attending the Smarta Awards ceremony at Cafe De Paris in London.
Six months ago we had been developing our ideas from a small garage in North Wales. Our idea of generating renewable energy from municipally collected dog waste was seen by many as a novelty, almost comical to some. However, we had Continue reading 'Wow! Winning the GeoVation Challenge'»
Last Thursday Ordnance Survey was delighted to host the Sustainable Innovation Lab (SusIN Lab) conference, here at our Head Office in Southampton. This was the fourth and final session in a series of workshop events organised by the University of Exeter Business School. The workshops, which Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation team have been participating in, have been running since December 2012. They explore, through collaboration, how sustainability is driving innovation and creating new forms of value for different stakeholders in the public, private and third sectors.