At first glance, this may look like state-funded environmental pollution: New York's Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) regularly dumps unwanted subway cars into the Atlantic. However, these New York City subway cars are now a happy home for fish. The MTA aims to create artificial marine environments, similar to those created by sunken ships, that will foster aquatic life. While most of this activity has gone under the radar, the MTA has been dumping subway cars since the turn of the 21st century. To date, after ten years worth of dumping, 2,400 subway cars currently lie on the ocean floor. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPzRibWesyo Man-made reefs are nothing new, either. U.S. fishermen have engaged in the practice since the 1830s using structures of logs joined together. Turning relics to reefs with other refuse quickly followed; now unwanted subway cars turn the barren stretches of the eastern Atlantic seaboard into thriving habitats. The subway car shells create surfaces upon which oysters, clams, barnacles, and vegetation can live and grow. They also provide useful hiding places for fish that would otherwise be easy prey in the open ocean, all of which is good news for local fishermen. The move from the MTA appears to be a stroke of financial genius, too. While dumping subway cars into the ocean is convenient, the nonprofit Ocean City Reef Foundation has also paid $600 per car to ship them 30-hours away from NYC and create the reef. So far, six states have jumped on the bandwagon, and Michael Zacchea, director of the MTA Artificial Reef Program, describes it as "the ultimate form of recycling." Additionally, Jeff Tinsman, Delaware's reef program coordinator, has stated that fishing activity has seen a 30,000 percent increase in the vicinity of the artificial reefs. Myrtle Beach is a hotspot for the subway cars: that's where the MTA unceremoniously dumps them off a barge with the help of a mechanical arm. Now at their final final stop, they'll lay there for approximately 40 years with some cars having been in service just 10 days prior. Despite the project's praise and apparent success, there has been skepticism, notably from the National Resources Defense Council. They say the scheme has "less to do with conserving fish than saving and making money. Sport fishers and divers have actively lobbied for artificial reefs for the fish and tourism dollars they can attract. And, by donating old equipment to the cause, private industries and governments save millions of dollars." "You can basically put anything in the ocean and call it a reef as long as it stays there," says scientist Kristin Milligan. It's also worth mentioning Osborne Reef catastrophe, which saw thousands of car tires dumped with good intentions, ultimately required cleanup by the U.S. military.
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Dutch ecopreneur Joost Bakker designs zero-waste homes, repurposes carcasses for his restaurant and delivers flowers
Vertical gardens fully obscure the home of eco garden entrepreneur Joost Bakker like a mossy overgrowth. The eco entrepreneur, a high school dropout and florist by trade, also designs zero-waste restaurants, composting toilets, freestanding vertical green walls, and houses built from straw for a laundry list of clients. His 6,500 square foot home in Monbulk, Australia, occupies a six-acre former cherry orchard, and is covered with a steel mesh normally used to reinforce concrete. This metal scaffolding holds 11,000 terra cotta pots of strawberries and shields the home from harsh hilltop sunlight. Beneath the mesh screen, the inner walls are insulated with straw bales behind a facade of corrugated, galvanized iron. “Our house stays beautifully warm in winter and cool in summer,” Bakker, who has parlayed the pet peeve of waste-producing industry into a career, told Gardenista. "Most people don't realize that straw is the world's most abundant waste product with over 1 billion farmers producing it. It's basically the stalk that's left over after the heads of rice, wheat, barley, and other grains are harvested." The Netherlands native harvests rainwater to wash dishes, mills his own oats, and folds others’ organic rejects into his own compost pile. The DIY home itself exemplifies the “reduce, reuse, recycle” ethos, built on a recycled concrete slab foundation and sporting walls sided with 150-year-old wood planks once used in the Woolloomooloo wharves in Sydney. Repurposed waste materials prevail indoors, too, with industrial-felt curtains shielding the windows, training-wire ceiling lamps, and unpolished plywood floors. On the driveway sits a spherical sculpture by the enterprising Bakker: a white ball of yarn bedecked with white butterflies. After turning restaurateur, carcasses have become the serial entrepreneur’s latest preoccupation. Last July Bakker opened Brothl, a high-end soup canteen where otherwise discarded though nevertheless reusable beef bones, seafood shells and chicken frames form the base of Bakker’s pungent, nutrient-dense soups. Bakker’s businesses enjoy the same cross-fertilization and managerial economies of a conglomerate: He trades the flowers he grows in his garden for bones to make soup at his restaurant, using the leftovers to feed his garden, which in turn supplies his restaurant.