In today’s edition of Squirrel news, the platform Polis seeks to overcome political polarisation, krill biology inspires building technology, and a once extinct butterfly makes a comeback in the UK.
How to overcome polarisation and help strengthen democracy
Polarised and divisive politics are a danger to democracy, as people feel disengaged from those in power. Polis is a platform that seeks to heal this vertical disconnect between the elected and electorate.
Krill’s ability to limit heat could be used to build more sustainable buildings
The tiny ocean creature best known as the primary diet of whales has the useful ability to protect itself from the sun by modifying skin pigments. This ability could be replicated in building materials to keep houses cool in the summer and insulated in winter.
Tel Aviv masters the art of protecting its residents from the sun
In an effort to promote walking, the city administration of Tel Aviv has put in place a number of initiatives to protect its residents from the sun. These urban canopies provide shelter and are placed using 3D city-scale mapping to identify the most effective locations.
Source: Reasons to be Cheerful
California to limit canal water evaporation with solar panels
California’s open canals may be getting some shading in the form of solar panels installed over the bodies of water. In a state prone to droughts, this could save billions of gallons of water a year and simultaneously provide clean energy.
Ex-cons offered dignity and employment through a culinary initiative
Specialising in French cuisine, Edwins employs and trains the formerly incarcerated with an aim to build self-esteem, self-reliance and dignity. The restaurant and training centre takes pride in its 95% employment rate for its alumni and minuscule reincarceration rate.
Source: Christian Science Monitor
Bolivian engineer creates prosthetics for those who cannot afford them
Roly Mamani, a Bolivian electrical engineer runs a company that provides prosthetics for disabled people. He uses innovative and self-designed technology to build prosthetics that cost significantly less than traditional technology.
Source: EL PAÍS
Kenyan farmers substitute grain with the cassava root to counter the effects of drought
Seeking to protect themselves from drought and heat waves, Kenyan farmers are reintroducing the cassava root as an alternative to grain and maize. The crop also referred to as yuca can withstand more extreme temperatures and help improve food security in the region.
Initiative underway to bring traditional cereal crops back to Europe
Over the last hundred years, cereals like oat and millet have been replaced by wheat and maize. The ‘Re-cereal’ initiative intends to bring them back across Europe.
Once extinct butterfly returns to the UK
The large blue butterfly has been extinct in the UK since 1976. The unique insect spends much of its time as a caterpillar, living inside the nests of ants, which hindered restoration projects. Now the number of butterflies has reached almost a quarter million.
American bison are making a major comeback
Buffalo numbers in the United States continue to rise as conservation efforts pay off. Now, relocation efforts will reintroduce the large mammal to its historic grazing grounds, in an effort to create herds from Mexico to Canada.