Tag Archives: Poverty

Q&A with MycoWorks Co-founder Sophia Wang | Instant News

Fashion is the second most polluting industry after oil and is responsible for 10 percent of annual global carbon emissions. Carbon intensive production animal hideout and Plastic for leather and synthetic clothing further exacerbates the impact of this industry, while waste from every stage of the fashion pipeline contributes to rampant air, water and soil pollution. As experts have known for years, the rise of fast fashion has enlarged the world’s resources and demonstrated the fragility of our current methods of production and consumption. If we want a future in which high-quality textiles play a role, we must act to change our habits on a system-wide scale.

When her artistic collaborator, Phil Ross, shared with her about the mycelium sculptures she has been working on for decades, artist Sophia Wang was amazed at the many possibilities in its natural pigments and textures. The mycelium consists of the root structure of the fungus and, like the edible part of the fungus, has a textural quality unlike that found in the animal or plant kingdom. Sophia had never seen anything like it and described Phil’s mycelium as “both stiff and foamy; compact and endlessly expressive.”

Cultivating mushrooms for consumption is an ancient industry that has a strong production and distribution infrastructure around the world. Mycelium’s abundance and biodegradability and carbon sequestration make it a clear choice for future sustainable goods. Companies like Eco-Friendly Design and Rhizoform LLC has spent decades developing mycelium as a packaging alternative for fragile fish and consumer goods and has even won support from Ikea and packaging giant SealedAir, but in fashion nothing has been tried on this scale yet.

Project with Sophia and Phil, MycoWorks, based on their proprietary process for mycelium cultivation called “Fine Mycelium ™”. This process uses the capacity of the fungus to bind itself and carbon-based materials to produce a durable three-dimensional structure. The first product they developed with Fine Mycelium was Reishi ™, the sustainable choice for skin that looks, feels and functions like an animal-derived version. Following their successful brand launch for Reishi in February 2020 at New York Fashion Week, MycoWorks plans to announce collaborations with some of the biggest names in the fashion world.

We sat down with Sophia Wang to discuss what makes MycoWorks a game changer for sustainable mode and what lies ahead.

China Environment Forum: What is unique about fashion as a means of presenting the delicate mycelium material?

Sophia Wang: Fashion is uniquely positioned to take the lead in new material adoption due to its global presence, impact and presence. There is a power made possible by creating high-value objects that are beautiful, aesthetically appealing, and long-lasting. A high-quality handbag or a beautiful piece of clothing becomes something intimate, that you live with, and that matters to you. When we started the company, it was an option to make things like structural panels, foam blocks, or protective packaging. But as far as introducing this new material and its extraordinary performative and expressive aesthetic qualities to the world, packaging applications do not represent all that. In our opinion, fashion is a very strong partner for introducing material in a way that adds value while communicating its own value.

CEF: What makes Reishi unique?

SW: Reishi is a highly engineered and customizable material, so we can develop specifications, be it size or features, and eliminate a lot of waste in the production process. Typically, working with animal hides is limited to what the farm can produce and the parameters of the animals you harvest. [With Reishi], we can develop the product straight to the design to eliminate waste from cutting and trimming. We may also work with customers to meet certain performance specifications, customize their appearance and develop those specifications.

CEF: How is Reishi advancing closed loop modeling in the fashion industry?

SW: We have new models for advanced material production. Mycelium grows on vegetable biomass and wood-based substrates so there is potential to centralize the production process by placing fine mycelium production alongside wood or biomass production. This highly portable technology is our strongest intervention in current supply chain models.

You can even collaborate with the fabrication of the final product. The by-product of Reishi production is actually the production of more mycelium-based products. The Reishi material is planted on a composite substrate, which self-implants in other mycelium components, which you can then use in structural panels, beams and foam packaging. There is a lot of potential closed loop in our manufacturing process, which is of great interest to us.

CEF: How does MycoWorks foster collaborative relationships with the leather industry?

SW: Instead of claiming that we are trying to replace skins, or provide an alternative to skins, we create options. Reishi, being a natural and non-plastic material, can be considered another delicate and rare skin along with other exotic skins such as crocodile, alligator, and ostrich. The leather industry, through our partners, is excited to work with us as we bring advanced material technology and a data-driven approach to the industry based on hundreds of years of craft expertise and know-how. . We have learned a lot from our partners in the leather industry and they have learned a lot from the processing methods and approaches we carry. They never had the opportunity to work with natural ingredients they could develop to specifications, which have a similar three-dimensional structure to collagen.

You might think of what we do as a crossroads between agricultural technology and the leather industry. The initial stages of our process are very similar to agricultural mushroom production in that we start with a similar substrate and inoculum. We then took some of the wisdom and models that come from tanning and finishing leather, and developed new chemicals and processes specifically for entirely new materials that are natural but not collagen or animal plastics.

CEF: What is the future for MycoWorks?

SW: In the next few years, our focus will be entirely on scaling our production processes to bring Reishi to our short list of selected brand launch partners who are exclusively engaged in fashion and luxury footwear. We opened a pilot facility and finally a full scale facility to support this launch and deliver the high volume that our brand partners have committed to. We think launching with these brand partners is the first step towards making Reishi and this technology ubiquitous as our partners are known for setting the highest standards for performance, quality and design.

In the long term, we hope to enable manufacturing co-locations to make supply chains more efficient and have an impact not only on the carbon footprint, but also on the overall production cost structure of these items.

Reishi is very measurable. I want this technology to be available in every corner of the world where there is agricultural production. There is potential worldwide for small producers to make secondary products with existing mushroom production and distribution infrastructure. Mycelium grows everywhere all over the planet and the input is very low – we just control the environment.

CEF: Is there someone who has inspired your work as a Closed Loop Innovator?

SW: As I began to understand and understand the stories I had to tell, I have to say that I was very inspired by Céline Semaan, the founder of Slow Factory Foundation and a defender of social and environmental justice. She educates about the fashion industry through an integrated approach that links it to economic justice and understands the impact of global colonialism, as well as issues around the workforce, environment and consumer production infrastructure. The messaging and communication interventions he takes to the world and the work he does with Slow Factory are integrated stories to tell.

I think the only way we can really change the system for all is with a very integrated approach. We are positioned [at MycoWorks] to make a tremendous impact in terms of the materials and fashion industry and I’m very excited to develop a platform through MycoWorks that can influence policy and direct decisions that affect the lives of individuals.

This blog part from the Closed Loop Innovators Series, featuring stories of women around the world innovating in business, civil society and science to reduce plastic waste pollution. A condensed version will appear in the forthcoming publication of the China Environmental Forum, InsightOut: Closing the Loop on Plastic Waste in China and the US

Clare Auld-Brokish is a research assistant at the Wilson Center’s China Environmental Forum where she works on urban water issues in China and global plastic waste. He recently returned from a Fulbright fellowship in Yunnan, China where he conducted environmental science research in freshwater lakes and developed wetlands.

Tongxin Zhu is a research assistant at the Wilson Center China Environment Forum. The focus is currently on marine plastic waste in China with an emphasis on consumer-facing industries. He recently graduated from Georgetown University, McCourt School of Public Policy with an MPP.

Source: Center for International Environmental Law, Edible Fungi and Medicines: Technology and Applications, Procedia Energi, United Nations News

Lead image credit: Sophia Wang, photo by Carla Tramullas, courtesy of MycoWorks.


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Students in France are waiting for food distribution as COVID-19 destroys part-time jobs | Instant News

PARIS (Reuters) – Every Tuesday evening, Moroccan student Chaimae Irfaq distributes food parcels to dozens of struggling students in the foyer of his university residence in Paris, and takes them home for himself.

Irfaq arrives in France in October to complete his business studies degree and hopes to work part-time to add to the 700 euros a month his father gave him.

But he said the coronavirus crisis meant there were few jobs, with bars and restaurants closed and businesses feeling the pressure from COVID-19 restrictions.

“If I have a job, I don’t need (a flyer),” he said while volunteering for the charity Les Restos du Coeur (Restaurant of the Heart).

In the package was rice, pasta, dairy products, fruit, vegetables and a little meat. Once a month, shampoo and sanitary products are added.

Students around the world have been hit by a lack of part-time jobs, including as baristas, waitresses and shop workers, many of whom rely on to pay for tuition, rent and living expenses.

Half a dozen charities distributing food in Paris say the number of students seeking help has jumped since the government put France back on lockdown and then a curfew late last year. Tens of thousands of food packages are distributed each week in the greater Paris region alone and it is a similar situation elsewhere, they said.

The government has extended the publicly funded scheme by providing one euro meal to those on grants and making it available to all students.

Irfaq said he arrived in Paris with the dream of enriching a gathering in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Instead he was allowed to follow online lectures from the confines of his small room.

“To be honest, this whole week, I was just waiting for Tuesday to come. It changed my routine a little, “he said.

The combination of distance learning and curfews, which lasted from 6pm to 6am, greatly affected the mental health of her and her friends, said Irfaq.

Three out of every four French students feel alone some or all of the time, one poll showed last month.

Students protest against the government which they say has abandoned them. Government spokesman Gabriel Attal this week said the poorest students had received emergency assistance, money had been spent on psychological counseling and the president wanted all students to be able to attend lectures in person one day a week.

Irfaq said the COVID-19 crisis had drained his energy and motivation.

“Now, when I look at my friends, they are depressed and lonely,” he said. “Even when we are together, we feel lonely and anxious.”

Reporting by Manuel Ausloos; Written by Richard Lough; Edited by Janet Lawrence


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Pantry Plus More creates cookbooks to help clients combat food insecurity | Instant News

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Pantry Plus More (PPM), a non-profit organization focused on ending food insecurity and fighting poverty, has released a recipe book to help its clients eat healthier.

Breakfast recipe for scrambled eggs

A recipe book of 20 recipes serving everything from breakfast to dinner and it’s also free available online. This cookbook has been in production for about two years and has now been given to around 65 MTC clients, according to Mike Miller, co-chair of the PPM’s Education and Nutrition Committee.

“We wanted to try to prepare delicious and nutritious meals using most, if not all, of the non-perishable ingredients in our kitchen and make it easier for kids to prepare,” says Miller. “Because often many children prepare their own food. That’s the basis, for preparing healthy, tasty, easy-to-prepare recipes that anyone can enjoy, not just children. “

Most recipes in cookbooks use the microwave. Miller says when left alone, children often choose the things that are easiest to make and / or eat, but more often than not, their choices are unhealthy. That’s why making all meals easy to make is a big part of making cookbooks.

Easy PPM recipe for chicken noodle soup

And even though the cookbook is targeted at kids, Miller says it’s for everyone. Because the idea is that if it’s simple enough for a child to understand, then adults should be fair.

His cookbook, for now, contains only 20 recipes but won’t last forever. Miller said there are plans to expand.

“We are now making additional recipes that can be added to that cookbook and at this point, we have seen the demand,” he said. “There is a demand for cookbooks, so we have a grant, we will order additional mini binders. We are working on additional recipes. We’ll print out all the recipes and put them in a cookbook with section dividers. “

One PPM client who is a retired chef recently wrote more than 30 recipes with the potential to add. Miller said about 65 clients who receive the initial cookbook will also get new pages to add to their binders.

Spaghetti recipe with chicken and peas

The award for making cookbooks doesn’t just belong to PPM, says Miller. He thanked the group of West Virginia University students who worked on the recipe. Some students, he said, even made videos to show clients how to prepare food.

Miller said he would like to thank his team on the Nutrition and Education Committee for all their hard work. He also thanked PPM as a whole, saying that he couldn’t have done it if it weren’t for organizational support.

“Inspiring” to see how dedicated volunteers and PPM members are in fighting food insecurity and poverty, he said.

“It’s just an extraordinary organization,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

PPM is located at 9 Rousch Drive Morgantown, WV 26501. Her phone number is (304) 282-1123 and can be found on Facebook. The entire PPM cookbook can found online, via the PPM website.


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Karachi beggars rent out babies to feed pity, Karachi police claim | Instant News

KARACHI: In a gruesome excavation of the crime modus operandi in which suspects take innocent minors and force them into a network of street beggars, police said on Friday that they had detained two women suspected of renting a minor to collect alms, ARY News reported.

Police in the city of Gabol claim to have arrested today two beggar women who were detained by a 3 month old girl and a one and a half year old boy.

On the suspicion that the police arrested the women and after an investigation the police found out that the two human children were drunk.

The two minors fell asleep under anesthesia, police said.

After being interrogated, the police extorted a confession from the female suspects that they took the children from their neighbors.

Police have charged the two women, Samina and Poonam, on charges drawn from the Beggars Act and have started searching for the parents of the minor.

READ: On the third day since the kidnapping, the police finally reported Jannat’s kidnapping to the FIR

Earlier this week, that past reported police finally filed an FIR and started a case investigation until the third day since one year old Jannat Gul was kidnapped when a veiled woman allegedly snatched the missing girl from her younger brother.

Jannat’s family who was aggrieved have protested the callous and unresponsive treatment by the police because they had denied the complaint even when they suffered their missing child.

However, the family still claims police did little to find their little girl who was kidnapped late Sunday, who is suspected by a veiled woman to be her five-year-old brother.




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Revealed: see how some of Australia’s poorest regions will take a hit when job seeker supplements end | Australian News | Instant News

Some of Australia’s poorest voters could lose as much as $ 3 million in economic support two weeks if the coronavirus welfare supplement ends, new analysis reveals.

An analysis of government data, broken down by federal voters by Guardian Australia, estimates an average of nearly $ 2 million per voter could be lost every two weeks if the $ 150 supplement was not renewed by the end of March.

Overall, about $ 300 million could be lost every two weeks among the 2 million job seekers, students and paid parents who received the supplement. That includes about $ 195 million going into job seeker payments for 1.3 million people with unemployment benefits.

The government has fending off calls to announce permanent increases to job seekers’ pay, which is $ 715 a fortnight, including a $ 150 coronavirus supplement.While some Coalition lawmakers have urged ministers not to return to the old two-week-or $ 40 a day tariffs of $ 565 – others claim that the increase in funding is not affordable.

Guardian Australia analysis suggests many of the Coalition’s wealthy seats in Sydney will be the least affected by the cuts, while working-class suburban seats held by Labor, and some regional seats held by government supporters, will be the worst affected.

Spence, a Labor-controlled voter in Adelaide’s northern suburb, will lose $ 4.1 million two weeks among the 27,000 welfare recipients who get a fortnightly Covid top-up.

That was followed by the Labor-held Calwell seat, outside northern Melbourne ($ 3.7 million), Fowler in western Sydney ($ 3.5 million) and voters NT Lingiari ($ 3.4 million), where more than 40% of the population is Indigenous.

“It would be a tragedy and a national shame if the remaining coronavirus supplements were phased out,” said Member of Parliament for Spence, Nick Champion, adding the topped-up rate had to be “minimal” for any permanent increase.

Hardest hit Coalition voters was Leichhardt, which stretches from Cairns to Cape York and is held by Member of Queensland Liberal Parliament, Warren Entsch. The analysis found $ 3.4 million would be lost in two weeks, including $ 2.3 million in job seeker payments.

Asked if he would feel comfortable if job seekers returned to the old rates, Entsch said he would bow to the experts, but he would be “surprised if that happened”.

He said it was a “good balance” and worried that it would undermine jobs if payments were too large.

supplement table

One of the hardest hit voters in NSW is Cowper, held by National Parliament Member Pat Conaghan. The chair, which stretches from Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbor, will lose an estimated $ 2.6 million two weeks in welfare support if the supplement ends.

Conaghan said he supported a 20% to 25% increase in pay for job seekers before the pandemic.

“We want to be able to provide an adequate safety net for those who are actively looking for work, while at the same time not creating a dependency on government welfare,” he said.

“I hear about children regularly going to school without food in Nambucca and Kempsey … This is unacceptable in Australia in 2021.”

The analysis, described in detail below, shows an estimate of 6,328 people will lose a $ 150 supplement to Cook voter Scott Morrison, equal to two weeks’ worth of $ 949,173, while $ 987,168 will be lost at Kooyong, held by Josh Frydenberg, out of an estimated 6,581 recipients. well-being.

Economists and social service groups have warned that pushing an increase in the number of people relying on job seeker payouts to the old Newstart rate pay would hurt the economy.

Economist Nicki Hutley said the economy was already feeling the impact reduce the supplement from the $ 550 rate applied in the first months of the pandemic.

“But the final nail in the coffin, if you like, will have a big impact on spending,” he said.

Last year Hutley predicted in a report for his former employer, Deloitte, to terminate the contract Coronavirus supplements can cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data have found recipients of coronavirus supplements are much more likely to spend their extra cash on household bills, groceries, rent or mortgages than to save them.

job seeker map

Workers have asked for a permanent increase in job seeker pay, but have not provided specific figures. Champion said current rates with a $ 150 supplement would be “the minimum to get people out of poverty”.

“If we are serious about giving people some kind of dignity, it should be around the disability support pension level [$944 a fortnight], “he said.” I think there should be a tariff at the top end to keep people out of poverty and ensure they can have dignity in society. “

Champion disputed claims that job seekers’ pay rates prevent employers from attracting workers. “It’s kind of anecdotal nonsense that is scattered around the place to prevent people from facing our obligation not to make thousands of people across the country live in poverty,” he said.

Kristin O’Connell, from the Unemployed Workers Union of Australia, said the organization was “Prepare for absolute assault when interest rates are cut again on March 31”.

Cassandra Goldie, chief executive of the Australian Social Services Council, said there were “clear economic reasons to ensure people had to cover the basics” but it was primarily about “human needs”.


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