Can Mushrooms Save the World?

Today we investigate eco-packaging, those environmentally friendly, biodegradable packing materials that are slowly making inroads into the once unbreachable domain of styrofoam. We put Ecovative’s mushroom based packaging through its paces and we talk to an industrial designer and a biomaterials developer about how far we can expect these sustainable materials to go in replacing petroleum based products.

Download this week’s show.

A wine bottle laying in two-part package that looks similar to styrofoam but is made from mushrooms.

Ecovative’s Ecocradle line of products hope to provide a more environmentally friendly alternative to styrofoam packaging.

Ecocradle Packaging
How well does mushroom packaging stand up to the tried and tested styrofoam? Two of our brave volunteers, Malaika and Matt, decided to find out. They did some research on Ecovative’s fascinating mushroom packaging before putting it through a series of tests. How does well does Ecocradle insulate an egg? Is Ecocradle edible? Matt and Malaika answered these questions and more.

Eco-Babble: Fairy Rings & Fungi
Have you ever seen a perfectly round ring of mushrooms, growing in a forest, on grass or elsewhere? Today we to look into these rings, some suggestions about why they appear, and the long-appreciated benefits of fungi in general.

How far can sustainable materials really take us?
Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips asks the Alberta Biomaterials Development Centre‘s Trevor Kloeck what’s actually possible to make with sustainable materials. Then he asks University of Alberta design professor Tim Antoniuk if what a consumer sees reflects a product’s actual green credentials, and whether we can get trapped by waiting for technological fixes to environmental problems.

News Headlines
The BC Association of Farmer’s Markets has received a one-time, $2 million grant. The purpose of the grant is to increase the access to fresh food for low-income seniors and families in communities throughout British Columbia. This program provides coupons for seniors and families to spend at their local farmer’s market. Families will receive $15 and seniors will receive $12 each week.
More on this story: Government of BC

Near the Labrador-Quebec border, a blockade by members of the Innu First Nation has been blocking roads to mine sites since last week. The blockade blocks a main road to New Millenium, Labrador Iron Mines, and other mine sites.
The protest is against the Quebec resource development plan known as Plan Nord. According to published reports, the Innu are opposing Plan Nord because it allows protected areas to be opened up to mining and gas exploitation and threatens traditional hunting grounds.
More on this story: CBC News, First Perspective

Last week, thousands of people in the southwest of Shifang, China, protested the government’s plans to allow the building of a copper alloy plant. Police used stun grenades, tear gas and batons to disperse protesters early in the week. Police violence and the detainment of 27 people protesting by police prompted a massive sit-in by protesters on Tuesday. Some people in Shifang are calling for the punishment of officials who violently detained the protesters and the release of those remaining in custody. The government has now cancelled the proposed metals project.
More on this story: The Guardian, Winnipeg Free Press

The Tsleil-Watuth First Nation, whose territories are in North Vancouver, British Columbia, is preparing to become the 131st nation to sign the Fraser declaration. The declaration bans Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project and other pipelines from crossing First Nations’ lands in the Fraser River watershed.
More on this story: Vancouver Sun

A state of emergency has been declared in three provinces in Cajamarca, Peru. The declaration comes after five people were murdered during protests against the Conga gold project. The protesters died after clashes with the Peruvian police and army. It is the second state of emergency to be declared in the wake of protests against Conga mines. Opponents of the Conga mine project are concerned that the US-based company’s Newmont mine would destroy water supplies.
More on this story: Peruvian Times, The Province, earthrights.org

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