"We have not inherited the world from our ancestors, we have simply leased it from our progeny", as the famous quote goes.
Truth be told, we've been terrible tenants thus far. It's unlikely we'll ever see our security deposit again. Despite all the ballads we sing about how beautiful, how vast, how marvellous our mother Earth is, we haven't treated it all too well, and it's in a worse condition than ever before.
The Earth's resources are getting scarcer and scarcer by the minute, at rates previously unheard of. It is not entirely unfathomable that by the time our landlords take to what's theirs, they do not have the resources to carry out some of life's basic processes.
However, it's still not too late. Eco-friendly products are new in vogue; innovation, in order to conserve valuable resources, and to create new ones. Here, we've curated a list of 10 incredibly unique eco-friendly products, from all around the world, that might be our our literal life-savers of tomorrow.
Play our cards wisely, and we might be able to stake a claim on that aforementioned security deposit...
The ultimate luxury home item of today, the Tesla Powerwall is a compact home battery. It might cost a fair bit - but it can power up a whole home, solely through itself - it takes absolutely no power from the grid, whatsoever. Move away from the days of grids and generators - Powerwall aims to achieve completely self-powered homes, combining solar energy and its power to keep your home up and running night and day.
During the day, it stores the excess solar energy harnessed by the sun - which will generally exceed your home use energy requirement, to make the stored solar energy available as required, even after dawn. If there's a grid outage - Powerwall detects it immediately, disconnects itself and restore power to your home within a fraction of a second, through solar energy. It can run for well over a week even through an outage - with solar energy charging it. Depending upon your home size and power requirements, multiple Powerwalls are stackable too.
A small and simple automated device, it does not require maintenance and is easy to install - easy to install on the wall or on the floor. The Tesla app allows you to manage your home and Powerwall usage easily, from the confines of your phone. Moving forward, electricity might be passe - we could live in a world solely relying on solar energy.
Created by A-Bike Electric in the UK, this bike is a little marvel in itself. Light and compact, the electricity-powered bike can fold in a matter of seconds - making it extremely portable. Capable of running 25km in one charge, it can reach a top speed of up to 20km/h - all without any fuel consumption.
Chargeable and powered by electricity - it consumes no fuels, causing absolutely no harm to the environment. Even if it runs out of power on a journey - you can always continue using it as a regular bicycle. You can now a tiresome walk into a cruising ride.
Both environment conscious and health conscious - bicycling has innumerable health benefits - such bikes could be more and more popular in the time to come.
Conventional pencils are a disaster for the environment - carved out of tree wood, mined graphite as the writing material, run out very quickly - not a long-term use product. These Grow Me Pencils, made by Jalebi in India, solve not just that - but help the environment in a much bigger way. Completely wood-free, you can use them as a conventional pencil. Once they're about to run out, just turn them upside down, pot them into a plant and see the magic happen.
Available in a box of 10, each pencil has a different seed bomb attached to its back - an assortment of herbs and vegetables. Mix it with water and soil, and then water it just as you would for a regular plant. In 3-4 weeks, you can enjoy fresh vegetables rising from your erstwhile pencil. These pencils cultivate two of the best habits you can have - writing and growing plants, simultaneously.
4. Algae Lamp
The common man knows algae as that sticky, awkward, yucky green material that grows near stagnant water. Are you saying that thing no one goes near can harness energy? In a beautiful home decor product? Yes, it can. Made by Living Things in the US, algae has been transformed into photosynthetic home decor, filled with tiny, but edible bacteria - which function as light sources.
Algae is something that would normally be wasted, but this project turns it into something that is of great human use. The microalgae Spirulina recycles light, heat and carbon dioxide into green biomass, which is then converted into biofuel. So not only does it eliminate carbon dioxide, an extremely harmful gas, from the environment, it harnesses it into energy.
Powered by algae, these lamps can light up a room in no time - and look extremely artistic to boot. Available in a whole installation of lamps and algae-integrated tables, living art could gain more traction in the decor world of tomorrow.
Paper is the epitome of an everyday use product - it's hard to fathom a single day going by without using paper in one way or another. This just speaks volumes about the use of paper on a large scale - paint a picture of 7 billion people not being able to think of a day they hadn't used paper in some form. Now, this everyday product does not come from the most environment friendly of processes - it comes directly from cutting trees. Paper is recyclable, but the recycle rate in India is so low that the feasibility of regaining resources through recycling goes out of the window.
But Jaipur-based Tomato & Co. have aimed to solve this problem. With their seed-embedded plantable paper, it gives a fresh lease of life to paper, somewhat literally. Paper, from killing trees, can now give birth to them. Plantable paper does not slay trees, to begin with, either - it is completely made of organic waste from factories, adding another feather to its eco-friendly cap. Available in several colors and thicknesses, the only problem with the paper is that it has to be kept in dry and moisture-free conditions, and only last a year.
Growing plants from the paper is not hard either. Shred the paper, put the pieces in soil, cover it with further soil, and then pot and water as you would regularly. As no chemicals are used, the wide range of varieties that can be grown from the paper are perfectly fit for consumption. As technology develops, the flaws can be ironed out - and plantable paper might be the paper of tomorrow.
Even in 2018, over a billion people live in literal darkness - they have no access to electricity, through availability or affordability issues. Millions more only have access to unreliable electricity sources. Even the light that is available to the rest of the world isn't the most environment conscious thing in the world - the power sources consume fuel, while in more backward areas kerosene lamps are popularly used - and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that widespread use of kerosene lamps is an environmental disaster.
The GravityLight Foundation in the UK aimed to solve this, through a noble yet innovative initiative - powering lamps through the power gravity - something available universally, in infinite quantity. It is powered by the lift of weight - with a pulley-cord system. Attach a weight to it - fill the bag with anything - sand, or rocks, and lift the bag with the cord. As the weight falls, the mechanism functions like a gear train, which drives the motor, powering the LED. On one fall, it can create 20 minutes of incandescent light. The process can be repeated infinitely - requiring no batteries or sunlight at all. A lot of commodities have been used as power sources - but gravity is something previously almost unheard of.
Phone's speaker not being loud enough is a problem we all face on almost a daily basis. If you're reluctant to shell out the big bucks on a speaker amplifier, this innovation from Bamboo India will certainly intrigue you. A leaf out of nature's book - made from 100% sustainable bamboo, this bamboo made speaker amplifier uses bamboo's natural properties and ability to resonate within its walls, creating an amplifying effect for sound, bringing about a passive sound amplification.
Its use is simple - just dock in your phone in the bamboo speaker. Unlike regular speakers, it does not use any electricity, power or charging either - making it all the more eco-friendly. With a long shelf-life, the bamboo speaker is handmade with each cut distinct from each other. Could bamboo be the next big thing in the sound industry?
8. Ulta Chaata
Water scarcity is turning out to be another acute issue for humankind - we are fast running out of what is supposed to be a renewable resource, and a resource without which life is simply impossible. The old literary reference - water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink - has never been any truer, as our freshwater resources enter alarmingly low territory. Indian startup ThinkPhi aims to convert the water everywhere into drops to drink - with their initiative Ulta Chaata, which also counters the power scarcity issue.
A unit of rainwater harvesting - it turns rainwater - a potentially valuable resource, if used correctly; but generally wasted - into potable, drinking water through a series of rigorous filtrations - after which it is completely purified through carbon filters and UV filters. That's not all - though - the device also converts solar energy into electrical energy, helping to solve another problem in one go - power. For the monsoon months, it can convert rainwater - for the rest of the year, it can harness solar energy for your use. Such multi-purpose eco-friendly products could make a world of difference moving into the future.
A regular shower takes about 20 gallons of water. Gallons and gallons are wasted on a daily basis - we don't use every single drop of water emitted by the shower. Now imagine the number of people in the world, and the number of showers taken - a ridiculous amount of usable water is wasted every single day. Nebia, from the US, aim to resolve this acute issue, giving a glimpse of the future of showering with their revolutionary showerhead.
With their patented H2MICRO technology, Nebia showerhead atomizes water into millions of tiny droplets. This makes it cover 10 times more surface area than a usual showerhead, which means you get a lot more bang for your buck - the shower is just like a regular shower, but you save an immense amount of water - Nebia pegs that number around 70%. Practically, Nebia pays for itself in the long run - by saving thousands of gallons of water. Resource conserving technology like this could be just the need of the hour as we move into the future.
10. Salt Lamp
We've already talked about a huge amount of people living in literal darkness - while others live on unreliable connections. Kerosene lamps, used in backward countries, cause immense damage to the Earth's ozone layer. To counter this issue in his own country - Philippines, engineer Aisa Mijeno innovated to create a salt-powered lamp - powered using a cost and environment conscious commodity.
SALt is powered by salt solution - it works on only one glass of water and two tablespoons of salt, and provides one night's worth of light on a charge. It can also function on ocean water - making it all the more useful in coastal areas. SALt is powered by salt solution - it works on only one glass of water and two tablespoons of salt, and provides one night's worth of light on a charge. It can also function on ocean water - making it all the more useful in coastal areas.
SAlt has been lighting up remote Filipino villages, and the product is going to be available to the larger masses too. In the future, they also wish to make such devices which can charge cell phones and other portable gadgets. Could something as simple as salt revolutionize our lights?
This World Environment Day, on June 5, let's all pledge to make some difference to the environment - be it in any small way of our own. How are you making a difference to the environment?