One Man’s Mission to Turn Trash Into Art and Music
In a CNN feature, Kan Chan Kin asks: "What happens to your trash when you put it in your bin? It doesn't magically disappear, you know?"
The news report calls Kan an "artivist" – part musician, part artist and full-time environmental champion.
Kan's mission is to spread awareness about our collective trash problem and to encourage waste reduction. He is most well-known for transforming trash into musical instruments that he plays around his home island of Mauritius and in public speaking opportunities.
"I make instruments, I play music, and I try to blend them both together and inspire people to reuse things," Kan told CNN. "How simple stuff like a bottle, some pieces of wood, you can make drums or many, many other instruments."
Kan explained how upcycling musical instruments from trash was "very easy" because the materials are all around and free, CNN reported. And, by taking the garbage out of nature, "you're doing a good action," he added.
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, "upcycling" is a form of recycling wherein the resultant product is of higher value than the original item. Rather than processing waste into new materials, as traditional recycling does, a product that would otherwise be thrown away can be repurposed in its current state into something new.
Kan strives to spread his message around Mauritius and beyond to inspire others to create less waste.
"I like to inspire the kids, so I tell them a bit why I do these things," Kan told CNN.
The musician can be seen in the CNN video showing youths how to play his handmade, upcycled instruments. He asks them to guess what they're made of to "keep it fun." He hosts workshops and concerts around his home country.
The artivist also posts free video tutorials on his Facebook and Sound Cloud accounts, detailing how to participate in his "trash to music" movement by making an upcycled instrument at home out of rubbish. "Discover how to craft my favourite music instrument called 'Didgeridoo' from PVC pipes or cardboard rolls!," the video invites viewers.
For such a small island, the trash problem is sizable.
"Every year, four hundred thousand tons of waste enters the landfill site at Mare Chicose," Kan said in a 2019 TEDx talk showcasing his recycled instruments. "I am really concerned about the state of our environment and I try to protect it or make people conscious in my own ways... " he told CNN.
According to the World Bank, the average Mauritian generates 2.3 kilograms of municipal solid waste per day, or roughly one ton a year – almost double the global average for an urban resident, reported BioReports. As the most densely populated African nation despite its small size, Mauritius does not have space to spare for landfills, BioReports noted.
Tourism, which was a major economy on the island before the pandemic, would also bring more than one million visitors to the island annually, creating even more garbage, BioReports found.
Through his performances with his upcycled instruments, the former electronic music DJ hopes to show people how everyday citizens can make a big difference in the fight against trash.
"I personally think everyone should see the landfill of their region, of their country because it is part of humanity," Kan told CNN.
In his TEDx talk, Kan encouraged everyone to become aware of the amount of waste that humans create, to reuse things and only buy what's needed and to remove trash and upcycle it.
In the talk, he ended with a call to action for his audience: "To conclude, I would like you all to think one tiny second (about) what are the consequences of our existence – both material and immaterial? What are we leaving to this world? What are we leaving to our kids? ... So, as I turn trash into music, I invite you all to turn our problems into solutions."
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Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
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Comparing rime ice and glaze ice shows how each changes the texture of the blade. Gao, Liu and Hu, 2021, CC BY-ND
Ice buildup changes air flow around the turbine blade, which can slow it down. The top photos show ice forming after 10 minutes at different temperatures in the Wind Research Tunnel. The lower measurements show airflow separation as ice accumulates. Icing Research Tunnel of Iowa State University, CC BY-ND
While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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