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Anthropocene

Anthropo-scene #10: From Thoughts to Geology

It’s more than two years since I have started this exploration of the Anthropocene for Next Nature for you. We have visited many places together, places I have traveled to as a reporter, author, biologist: we have entered a graphite mine, where ancient algae are turned into high-tech gadgets, we have discovered a former military training areas that has become a neo-natural ecosystem, we have encountered plants and birds that try to live and thrive in the new geological epoch we are about to name after ourselves, the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene will not be a smooth ride, but an exciting one.

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Digital Native

Military-Style Rehab for Internet Addicts

The Telegraph visited a controversial Chinese military-style boot camp where parents send their sons in the hope of break their internet addiction. China has more online gamers, 368 million, than the United States has people.
Called w?ng y?n, the internet addiction is a real clinical disorder that afflicts 24 million of young Chinese people.

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Forward to Nature

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Virtual worlds, printed food, living cities, wild robots – we’re so surrounded by technology that it’s becoming our next nature. How can we live in harmony with it? The Next Nature Network is a 21st century nature organization that wants to go forward – not back – to nature. We stir debate, create events, exhibitions, publications and products that bring biology and technology into balance. Because ultimately, we may not just have to save the pandas but the people too. Will you join us?

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Guided Growth

The Designer who Grows Furniture

When Gavin Munro was playing in his garden as a young boy, he noticed that an overgrown bonsai tree had the distinct appearance of a chair. Soon after, he got a spinal graft, requiring him to wear a back brace to heal and align his bones: “There were long periods of staying still, plenty of time to observe everything going on and reflect” he recalls.

Today Munro is creating a farm where planted trees can be grown around braces and harvested as fully formed chairs, sculptures, lamps, and tables.

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Hypermaterials

Interview: Suzanne Lee, Fashion Innovator Who Grows Clothing in the Laboratory

Imagine you could grow your own clothes, using fermented tea, bacteria, yeast, and other microorganisms that can spin the ingredients into eco-friendly fibers. This is exactly what fashion designer Suzanne Lee pioneered. She investigated the possibility of creating clothing through the use of microbial cellulose. For this research project Lee coined the term Biocouture, which transitioned to a biocreative consultancy some years ago.

Today, she is the Creative Director of Modern Meadow Inc, an innovative New York-based team of scientists, engineers, designers and artisans developing cultured animal products and exploring new ways to create sustainable animal materials, such as lab-grown leather. Lee is also founder of Biofabricate, the leading event for the field of design, biology and technology, focused on the emerging world of grown materials.

We recently talked with Suzanne Lee about the textile industry and technology, growing leather in the lab, and the use of new alternative materials in the future of fashion.

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Anthropocene

Anthropo-scene #9: Sense, Sensors, Sensitivity

In 1928 Alfred Döblin, one of Germany’s great authors, wrote a book that in my eyes should become part of the official intellectual ancestry of the Anthropocene. It’s called “Das Ich über der Natur”, the Self Above Nature. But it’s not about human arrogance and domination of Earth, quite the opposite. Döblin describes ways how to immerse ourselves in Nature.

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