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Circular Textiles

Summary

Textiles play a vital role in our lives from our clothes, to our homes to everyday products in the background of our TikTok feed. But how often do we think about those textiles – who made them? How are they made? How do they get from the raw materials to our hands? 

The vast majority of textiles have a linear path – raw materials are made into textiles and then go from the sales rack to the landfill. With the rise of fast fashion and other rapid textile production in different industries, there is an urgent need and business opportunities for innovative, sustainable, and circular flow of textiles within the supply chain. How can we draw upon the concepts of a circular economy and inject innovative approaches to sustainable and circular practices within the textile supply chain. 

Sponsor

Chat with a Scientist: Life in the Coral Reefs

Join the New York Academy of Sciences, in partnership with NEOM, for a virtual Chat with a Scientist series, where you will gain insights into the significance of the oceans and their impact on our global ecosystem.

The ocean covers approximately 70% of Earth’s surface, and is a vital force in supporting the planet’s biodiversity and sustaining life, yet there is still so much left to be discovered and explored. Each one-hour event in this six part series will feature scientists, advocates, and leaders whose work focuses on marine life and the oceans themselves, and who will help shed light on the importance of understanding these vast bodies of water and their connection to life on land.

Participants will not only expand their knowledge, but also gain valuable insights into the world of scientific exploration and discovery. Most importantly, guest speakers will be available to answer questions directly from viewers, allowing you to engage with these experts in a meaningful way. While the events primarily target middle and high school students, attendees of all ages are welcome, and we especially encourage students to participate alongside their families.

Urban Gardening – Get Growing!

Overview

Clifford Chance has partnered with The New York Academy of Sciences to launch innovation challenges in Kigali, Rwanda. The goal of this three-year program is to strengthen Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education opportunities and enhance STEM workforce development in Kigali. We’re pleased to launch our latest Open Innovation Challenge and we seek innovative ideas for how to grow food in our own homes.

Students ages 13-17 in Kigali, Rwanda are invited to compete in an 10-week innovation challenge this Spring. During the challenge, students can form teams with peers and have access to research guidance from mentors via the Academy’s own virtual collaboration platform, Launchpad. The students then work together to develop an innovative, research-driven solution to address the challenge.

The Challenge

Kigali, Rwanda has been hailed by the United Nations as a “model sustainable city” and is considered one of the most food-secure cities in Africa. Nonetheless, drought and competing needs for land-use continue to threaten food security. In the face of climate change and a growing urban population, students who take on this challenge will be tasked with considering how urban gardening can be a part of the solution. The need for low-cost or no-cost innovations will be critical.

Design an innovative approach to implement urban gardening in your home, school or neighborhood that increases access to nutritious food sources for your family and/or community.

Supporter

The program is made possible through the support of Clifford Chance as a part of its Cornerstone initiative. Cornerstone is Clifford Chance’s flagship global pro bono and community investment initiative in Rwanda. The initiative is made up of a series of projects that are designed to help these communities overcome the barriers inhibiting improvements in well-being.

Resources

This Challenge is closed.

We have archived the resources from this challenge. These resources are valuable resources for educators and students.

Students Create an App to Promote Urban Farming Around the World

Winner of the Junior Academy Challenge – Spring 2023 “Urban Gardens”

Team members: Tianze H. (Team Lead) (United States), Tianlai H. (United States), Radwa A. (Egypt)

Mentor: Olusola Ladokun (Nigeria)

Urban gardening can be an effective way to provide fresh and healthy food at a low cost, particularly in parts of the world where food security remains elusive. But it involves many variables– climate, soil, location, sun exposure, type of crop– and urban residents often need education and guidance in order to be successful gardeners right from the start. Three students — Tianze H. (United States, Team Lead), Tianlai H. (United States), Radwa A. (Egypt) — worked under the guidance of their mentor, Olusola Ladokun (Nigeria) to address this knowledge gap, and ultimately won the Spring 2023 Junior Academy Innovation Challenge with their project, “Family Farming: The Ultimate Planting Companion”. The project aims to promote urban gardening around the world by providing useful tips to city dwellers that enables them to supplement their diet with home grown crops.

“After long discussions we finally settled on the current idea,” says Tianlai. “Personally, I contributed creative ideas for our projects, like using deep learning algorithms in our application. I also worked with my teammates on the slides, adding things that they might have missed.” To identify what information would-be gardeners might need, the team conducted a small survey before designing an eco-friendly app called Family Farmers. The app contains a scanner that taps into existing plant and weather databases in order to identify the best potential garden locations based on available amount of space and local climate. The app also provides information about farming methods, and shows how common household items can be used for gardening to keep costs low.

Adding a Fun Factor to Urban Gardening

Family Farmers is designed to be the ultimate tool for aspiring gardeners, with an AI search engine that can be used to find suitable plants, an option to share progress and tips with a community of like-minded garden enthusiasts, and a calendar to remind users when to water and take care of their plants. The students also added an element of entertainment to their app, with plant-related games that provide fun facts about gardening.

Developing this innovative solution required hard work. The small but mighty team size (just three people) did not deter the committed students– in fact, it helped with the difficult task of coordinating online meetings across time zones. “The size of the group does not matter. In fact, it might have even helped everyone strengthen our relationships,” says Team Lead Tianze. “We were also able to help each other and make up for what we may not be good at. The teammates were willing to cooperate and overcome the time differences that we have,” says Tianze. “We were also able to help each other and make up for what we may not be good at. Helping to solve a real-world problem was a great experience.”

Team member Radwa enjoyed researching the issues surrounding gardening in an urban environment and collaborating with international students. “This was my first time in a program that involves meeting students from different nationalities and working together on new ideas,” he said. “This is a wonderful thing and I’m very glad to have gone through this experience, meeting new friends and learning many things in a field that I’m passionate about. I hope to do something that is related to it one day.”


The Junior Academy was supported by the Stevens Initiative, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. Government, and is administered by the Aspen Institute.

Q&A Blog with ISR Community Member: Daniel San Martin from Chile 

In any major climate-related crisis, access to geo-spatial-temporal datasets, mapping, modeling, and analytical tools are critical to aid recovery efforts and protect communities. Many expert researchers, especially scientists and institutions in low-to-middle income countries, lack the tools to access and analyze relevant data, to inform local decision makers on how to act rapidly and effectively.  

During a recent panel with the Predictive Analytics World (PAW) climate conference, we spoke with ISR community member Daniel San Martin of Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María in Chile. Daniel specializes in scientific computing with a current research focus on computational fluid dynamics, numerical methods, and high-performance computing applied to forest fire modeling.  

How are you using data to inform crisis preparedness and decision-making on wildfires in your region? 

Our work is not only based on data, but we also use physical models and simulations to get or evaluate dangerous zones and vulnerable locations. Our approach is to use these simulations to make informed decisions for experts in disaster management, like government institutions. We can also use the models to create new data for AI-based models in order to complement the analysis. The main contribution of our work with wildfires is trying to best inform the people who make the decisions and try to minimize the damage of wildfires. 

Why did you look for collaborations outside of Chile, and why is a global network like the ISR beneficial to your work?  

I think collaboration with a global network is crucial for developing countries, like Chile. We do this to tap into diverse expertise and to gain a global perspective, specifically on disasters. Also, to share resources and build capacity for rapid response. I think different experts in disaster management approach this work in order to help shape policies.  I strongly believe that global collaboration is mandatory nowadays to face any kind of disaster, even more so now that we are suffering the effects of climate change. 

How does access to resources, like geospatial mapping and modeling, impact your research and work? 

In terms of data, it is really tricky in my region because of the availability of the technology or the funding to get intelligent data, like they have in the United States. We have a lot of resource constraints, such as spatiotemporal resolution issues, data integration complexities, sharing restrictions, data quality concerns, resource constraints, and remote sensing limitations, among others. We usually try to use the data provided by US or European institutions. We use that data to create models, but it cannot always be applied because we have geographical or meteorological differences. We need data and tech development by other countries, to create or adjust the tools to our own context. 

What more could be done for researchers like yourself to get the data you need, and communicate it to decision makers?  

To better support researchers in disasters, enhanced data accessibility through open initiatives and real-time streams is crucial. This includes advocating for standardized formats and integrating advanced remote sensing technologies. To communicate findings effectively to decision makers, user-friendly visualization tools and comprehensive scenario analysis reports are essential. Collaborative engagement with stakeholders, including regular workshops and educational initiatives, can bridge the gap between researchers and decision-makers, fostering understanding and trust.  

Additionally, advocating for policy integration and offering training sessions to decision makers can ensure that scientific research is considered in disaster management strategies, ultimately enhancing the impact of simulation models on informed decision-making. 

Bat Biology and Ecology

A series of research articles examining bat biology and ecology. Articles include The pale spear-nosed bat: A neuromolecular and transgenic model for vocal learning; From island biogeography to landscape and metacommunity ecology: A macroecological perspective of bat communities; Sick bats stay home alone: fruit bats practice social distancing when faced with an immunological challenge; A review of the major threats and challenges to global bat conservation; Individuality and function of chemical signals during conflict resolution of a mammal; Changing resource landscapes and spillover of henipaviruses; Ecosystem services provided by bats; Naturally Long-Lived Animal Models for the Study of Slow Aging and Longevity; Testing the Free Radical Theory of Aging in Bats; Plasmhogen Activators from the Saliva of Desmodus rotundus (Common Vampire Bat): Unique Fibrin Specificity; The Nervus Terminalis in Insectivorous Bat Embryos and Notes on Its Presence During Human Ontogeny; The Sonar Receiver of the Bat; The Possible Role of Brown Fat as a Source of Heat During Arousal from Hibernation; Histochemical and Microchemical Observations on the Lipids of the Interscapular Brown Fat of the Female Vespertilionid Bat Myotis Lucifugus Lucifugus; Bat Rabies: Experimental Host Transmission Studies; Blood Circulation in the Subcutaneous Tissue of the Living Bat’s Wing; On Two Species of Plecotus inhabiting the United States Territory; and Descriptions of Five Species of Vespertilio that inhabit the Environs of the City of New-York.

See https://nyaspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/toc/10.1111/(ISSN)1749-6632.bat-biology-ecology.

Science Unusual: R&D for Global Crisis Response

This International Science Reserve online event was hosted by The New York Academy of Sciences. It was of particular interest to those interested in risk management, as well as crisis and disaster preparedness and response—including the 1000+ members of the ISR science community.

Using Data to Protect Food Systems from Climate Impacts

The International Science Reserve convened an expert panel to talk about the role of data in preparing for and responding to potential food system crises.

The world has enough food to feed everyone, yet the World Food Programme estimates that 345 million people around the world remain acutely food insecure in 2023.  

Potentially further escalating this inequity, climate shocks are increasing the risks to agricultural yields. Heavy rainfall, droughts, and heatwaves can cause crop failures; climate and environmental pressures can decimate insect populations and microorganisms vital to plants and soil or let new crop pests or diseases emerge. Combined with a globalized distribution system and geopolitics, food system disasters are a compound problem.  

To plan for or reduce the impact of these catastrophes, a variety of datasets, modeling, and analytical tools will be key, including observational data, remote sensing, geospatial mapping, and satellite imagery.  

The International Science Reserve convened an expert panel from nonprofit and corporate perspectives across disciplinary and geographic boundaries to talk about the role of data in preparing for and responding to potential food system crises, as part of the International Science Reserve’s webinar series, Science Unusual: R&D for Global Crisis Response. Participants were: 

  • Michael Hinge, Senior Economist, ALLFED (Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters) 
  • Levente Klein, Research Staff Member, IBM 
  • Kyriacos M. Koupparis, Head, Hunger Monitoring Unit, United Nations World Food Programme 
  • Kay Sun, Senior Scientist, Mondelez International 
  • Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar, Climate and Environmental Journalist, panel moderator 

Here are the top takeaways from the discussion: 

Participants agreed about the urgent priority to get accurate data about what’s happening with food systems, weather, and climate patterns:

The information needs to include a wide range of data inputs to make sure it includes the “ground-truthing” from sources where people are seeing the most immediate impacts. 

And in turn that the information, modeling and predictions should be made available to the communities who are most affected.

The panelists talked about climate impacts on specific food crop examples and ways that data-based planning can help deal with those impacts with alternative food sources or adapting agricultural cultivation methods. 

Visit our events page to watch the full webinar.