As we start a new year we wanted to take the time to reflect and highlight what happened in 2019. We send a bi-weekly newsletter that highlights what’s going on in the world when it comes to sustainability. The latest publication of the Sustainability Round Up highlights the 2019 happenings including technology, architecture, plant-based foods, recycling, reducing food waste, and the effects of airline travels. To keep up with sustainability news sign up for this newsletter.

How Urban Agriculture Can Improve Food Security – City Lab

Cities such as Oakland, with neighborhoods that have been identified as “food deserts,” can lie within a half-hour drive of vast stretches of productive agricultural land. But very little of the 20 million tons of food produced annually within 100 miles of Oakland reaches poor people.

Energy from Waste and a Circular Economy: Innovative Ideas to Solve the Waste Crisis – ABC (Australia)

Food scraps sent to the waste-to-energy plant at Wollert, in Melbourne’s north, feed a hungry beast. The plant owned and run by Yarra Valley Water can process up to 33,000 tonnes of food waste every year, enough to power about 2,000 homes.

Floating Cities Once Seemed Like Sci-Fi. Now the UN is Getting On Board – Fast Company

Bjarke Ingels Group and a company called Oceanix presented a wild concept for floating cities at the UN, imagining completely self-sufficient communities in the era of sea level rise.

South Korea Once Recycled 2% of its Food Waste. Now it Recycles 95% – World Economic Forum

Now South Korea is taking a lead, recycling 95% of its food waste. It wasn’t always this way in the country. The mouth-watering array of side dishes that accompany a traditional South Korean meal – called banchan – are often left unfinished, contributing to one of the world’s highest rates of food wastage. South Koreans each generate more than 130 kg of food waste each year.

Impossible Foods and Regenerative Grazers Face Off in a Carbon Farming Dust-Up – Civil Eats

The plant-based burger company called regenerative grazing the “clean coal of meat” in a recent report. That hasn’t gone over well amongst carbon ranchers.

How Empowering Women and Girls Can Help Stop Global Warming – TED

If we really want to address climate change, we need to make gender equity a reality, says writer and environmentalist Katharine Wilkinson. As part of Project Drawdown, Wilkinson has helped scour humanity’s wisdom for solutions to draw down heat-trapping, climate-changing emissions: obvious things like renewable energy and sustainable diets and not so obvious ones, like the education and empowerment of women.

San Francisco Airport Announces Ban on Sales of Plastic Water Bottles – The Guardian

The days of picking up a plastic bottle of water to stay hydrated during a long flight will soon be over for people flying out of San Francisco’s international airport (SFO).The airport, which restricted the distribution of single-use plastic straws when the city law went into effect in July, is now banning convenience shops, restaurants and vending machines from selling plastic water bottles. Starting on 20 August, only water in glass, recycled aluminum, or certified compostable materials can be sold.

Meet the Chinese Architect Turning Cities into Giant Sponges to Help Prevent Flooding – WWF

These ‘sponge cities’ use a wetland system to absorb rainwater, instead of draining it away, and allow natural water flow. As sea levels creep up and extreme rainfall becomes more common around the world, could this be a way to protect the world’s most vulnerable cities?

New Recycling Program in Pennsylvania Wants to Save Tons of Plastics from Landfills – Huffington Post

It’s practically impossible to recycle old chip bags, detergent pouches and bubble wrap. These flexible items are too costly for waste collectors to sort and process, so most of them end up in landfills. But not in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

Airlines Feeling the Pressure from Climate Activists – Travel Weekly

With climate change activists becoming increasingly influential, especially in Europe, the issue of emissions took center stage at major aviation industry events in Seoul, South Korea, and Paris.

Award-winning AI Technology Helps IHG Hotels Track, Measure and Reduce Food Waste – Hospitality Net

IHG is the first global hotel company to use the award-winning Winnow Vision AI enabled technology, which will help its hotels achieve a 30% reduction in food waste. Through the use of an intelligent camera, smart scales and AI-based smart meter technology, Winnow Vision analyses ingredients during food preparation, as well as plates returned to the kitchen, to assess which food items are most wasted and in what quantities. This builds up a bank of data which in turn informs buying decisions, shapes menus and hones food preparation techniques.

Using VR to Create Sustainable Global Events – On Set Facilities

In 2019, the 4th consecutive Sustainable Production Forum took place in Canada with 5 top studios participating including Fox, Warner, NBC, Disney and Sony. But as of today, the irony of this event is that a ‘global forum on sustainability’ still requires attendees to jump on planes and travel from all over the world to attend, still using copious amounts of effort, plastics, electricity, fuel, all of which is just the same as flying production crews around the world when making films.