Capitalising on swinging weather extremes.

Meet Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge finalist Field Factors

I was fortunate enough to be taught the difference between climate and weather at school; put simply one is long term and the other short term. What we weren’t taught, fortunately, was this difference in practice. We weren’t able to tangibly see this difference yet – we just knew it existed and so it was a challenge to be able to identify changes to the climate without naturally assuming this just was the weather changing. I think this was also fortunate, as now this is no longer the case. It is becoming concerningly clearer as to what the differences between climate and weather are.

Australian Firefighters tackling 37 Mile Wild Fire. Credit: UN News

In Australia, just days ago we heard about the wildfire that spread across 37 miles and was not possible to put out by the heroic firefighters. In Venice, 80% of the city has been submerged under water as a result of 3 floods, some of the worst in the past century. Some would still claim this is extreme weather and has no bearing to climate change.

East and Southern African countries have faced severe and prolonged droughts since 2017 and are now facing severe flooding too. Scientists claim this is going to get worse over the next few decades with both weather extremes getting more severe. The cause of this, as concluded by scientists at the Met Office in collaboration with researchers at the Institute of Climate and Atmospheric Science at Leeds University, is the endless burning of fossil fuels increasing the levels of carbion dioxide in the atmosphere – to over 145 parts per million, the highest levels since humans ever walked the Earth. Drastic changes of weather from one extreme to the other; this is not a result of random unprecedented changes in weather – this is a result of changes to our climate. Changes so drastic, in shorterning spaces of time.

Okay, so we’ve got scientific proof that climate change is happening and people still don’t believe in it. Even with all the evidence there is, some fools can’t be trumped. Thankfully, Dutch company, Field Factors, does believe in climate change though. Their vision is to restore natural water cycles in cities. Through the creation of their technology, Bluebloqs, they have effectively enabled a reliable and natural-based urban water supply.

Bluebloqs is a modular system for rainwater treatment, storage, and reuse. It combines biofiltration with aquifer storage technologies to achieve high treatment and recovery efficiencies. As a compact integrated system, Bluebloqs utilizes natural processes in a controlled manner, avoiding the need for large infrastructures. Discover the new way to manage urban water.

Field Factors, fieldfactors.com
Schematic Representation of Bluebloqs Technology Field Factors

How frustrating it must be enduring a drought when you know a few weeks ago your city was flooded. Field Factors hits that frustration on the head and provides a way to capitalise on a bad situation to help manage another bad situation. By collecting rain water during intense periods of rain, treating it under the soil and storing it until needed, they are able to provision a usable supply of water during times of intense droughts. Yes, it would be ideal if there were no extremities in our weather as a result of global warming and other changes in our climate. However, Field Factors, as many others, are no longer in denial that climate is happening and at an unprecedented rate and whilst we do need try to tackle the problem head on, we also need to find a sustainble means of surviving through it and they sure have found one means of survival indeed.

The work that Field Factors does links in directly with SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation, through their provision of a natural-based urban water supply, particularly useful in times of extreme weather, but also SDG 13 Climate Action. This is by their provision of an alternate solution to the consequences of global warming. They have been recognised for their work and were deservedly one of few finalists in the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge – I expect more recognition (beyond FutureSphere!) is coming their way, if not at their doorstep already.

It is inspiring to see yet another startup thinking into the future and providing solutions to problems that may seem a rarity now, but will unforuntately only become more and more prevalent in our lives and of those who follow us. A huge thank you to Field Factors for their commitment to a sustainable future – be sure to check out their website to learn more!

Links:

Field Factors Website
Fieldfactors.com

The Great Bubble Barrier.

The Great Bubble Barrier. Even the name sounds so cool, wait till you hear about what they are all about. The Dutch start up, based in North Amsterdam, have this ambitious yet evidently achievable mission: “To remove as much plastic as possible from the environment. We do this by clearing as many flowing inland waterways in the world from plastics, as possible. This way we want to improve water quality and thereby quality of life for humans and animals.” (The Great Bubble Barrier Website). Their mission is one we can all get behind because the effect of plastic pollution is becoming more publicised but the unique selling point of this start-up is the way they set out to achieve it.

The Great Bubble Barrier Logo. Photo Credit: greenchallenge.info

Co-founders Francis Zoet, Saskia Studer and Anne Marieke Eveleens have found an application for existing bubble technology used currently during oil spillages, in the many waterways of Amsterdam. By diagonally placing a tube at the bed of the waterway and pumping oxygen through it, the waste within the waterway is thrust to the surface. The Bubble Barrier then guides the plastic, using the natural current, to a catchment system on the side of the waterway. One major benefit is that this stops the waste on its way to the ocean, as well as increasing the amount of oxygen in the eco-system – another major benefit for the marine life that live there.

Photo Credit: greenchallenge.info

I really like this business. They have innovated existing technology so well and what’s more is that it is easily scalable and doesn’t require changes to policies or infrastructure. They’ve even come first in the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge and got a major boost for their business development!

The Great Bubble Barrier are working towards a purpose that ties in predominantly to SDG 14 Life Below Water, but also can be seen to positively impact SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG 13 Climate Action and SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production. A great deal of applause for the team at The Great Bubble Barrier for the huge strides they take towards a sustainable future! Make sure you check out their website and the Green Challenge to learn more about the The Great Bubble Barrier.

Links:

The Great Bubble Barrier Website
thegreatbubblebarrier.com/en

The Postcode Lotteries’ Green Challenge Website
greenchallenge.info/info/winners/the-great-bubble-barrier