Pretend we are living in post apocalyptic conditions or a world that is fighting climate related devastation. Kind of seems one of these scenarios might be a little true. A bit dramatic sounding, but wouldn't this lead people to find ways to better nurture the environment in the present.
I thought about what technological or scientific discoveries could reduce the human impact on earth. Right now we are tremendously successful as consumers and waste creators. Sounds almost good in the way I phrased it, but what in recent years might help change these patterns.
This lead me to fruit and vegetable preservation. It is a leap to go from suffering earth with desperate people in survival mode to concerns about asparagus and berries not turning wilty, mushy, furry, and trashed. Yet, we have Apeel Sciences (Goleta, California) and Hazel Technologies (Chicago, Illinois) developing the preservation tools that could enable less waste by extending shelf life of these fresh food products. At first I thought, oh no, more preservatives in food, that's not what we need, but their innovations are different.
Apeel Sciences (LA TIMES article, Caitlin Dewey, 06/20/18) created an all-natural coating that decreases that outer fruit/veg skin spoilage. The impact of this type of technology is greater than I realized. I later read that asparagus has a short shelf life and has to be flown by air to the sellers quickly. Longer asparagus shelf life could mean less likely carbon emitting air plane travel required to travel to seller/consumer. Think of all the fruits and vegetables that require quicker delivery or are disposed of because they may appear or are spoiled due to their short shelf life.
Hazel Technologies created a sachet to toss into the shipped containers of fruits and vegetables to decrease the chemical process causing decay. What the small sachet does is "shut down the food's response to ethylene, a chemical naturally emitted by many fruit and vegetables that triggers the loss of firmness, texture, and color" (LA TIMES article, Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz,12/27/19). By emitting an ethylene inhibitor, this sachet reduces the decomposition of the fresh food, not by changing the food, just its shelf life. This is remarkable and something I could see later on a home-use basis.
Impressive food preservation innovations could mean mangoes from India, okra from Honduras, avocados and cherries from U.S. all shipped farther. I realize eating locally sourced food is a better option versus expecting it to be shipped at long distances. Though not everyone has the access. Also, even these locally grown foods can spoil quickly. Having tons of spoiled food waste in landfills is hardly beneficial to anyone, except maybe scavenging animals, insects, and birds. These new innovations could curb food waste and prevent that cinematic apocalypse that everyone oddly craves for in a religious, secular, or technological sense, or where zombies have claimed all the malls, grocery stories, and restaurants.
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Tiff Graham (TiGra) experimenting with ideas