1. The zero-waste newbie
That friend who got very upset about the components of the stomach of that whale that washed ashore. They didn't know the situation was this bad! They want to start living more consciously and lessen their impact on the environment but don't know where to start. Give them a hand by gifting them their first reusable bottle. We love our fellow Dutch company Dopper's bottles.
Me, and you, and your friend, we all have access to running, safe water. We don't think of this as a privilege, but it is. One in ten people around the world doesn't have access to clean drinking water. So as you're giving your friend the gift of a clean conscience make the gift even more meaningful by supporting it with the gift of clean water to people who don't have it.
Simavi is a non-profit organisation tackling water, sanitation and health challenges to stop preventable diseases, reduce mortality rates and boost social and economic development. Donate to them below and enhance the power of your gift.
2. The workaholic
The friend who has a nine to seven job and a million side hustles. You're not even sure if you'll see them in the next four years because they'll probably be busy giving a TED talk or being the first civilian in the Mars mission. Regardless, you still want to give them a gift in case they become the ruler of the universe.
To this friend, you need to give something they will never give to themselves: the gift of a break. Some time to take care of their mental health. Since you never know where they are in the world, gift them a portable self-spa set. Buy an already curated one or make one yourself.
While some things can be soothed with a bath, depression is a serious health problem that needs professional attention. Depression is often overlooked as a problem in the Global South but it affects people's lives gravely. Add a donation to a mental-health non-profit to your friend's self-care package and help people who don't have access to mental health services.
Strongminds is a non-profit that works with women with depression in Africa. They have a special community-based model that leads to women helping themselves and helping others. Donate below and give women the opportunity to take care of their minds.
3. The crafty one
The friend that will give you a homemade gift. They've probably invited you to a theme party that required a very specific costume at some point. They bring homemade kimchi and origami greeting cards to every dinner party. They make their own clothes and you can tell.
Any type of DIY set or 'how to' book would make this friend very happy. The more obscure the hobby the better. A personal favourite is this book on spoon carving.
Favela Painting is a non-profit, using art as a tool to unite and empower communities. Just like the crafty friend, Favela Painting wants to bring some whimsy and colour to people's lives and create lasting change. A donation to Favela Painting below would be a great complement to the gift.
4. The one who just had a baby
This friend welcomed a new member to the family just in time for the New Year. They're probably high on bliss but also on sleep deprivation. I've heard from reputable resources that the best gift for a friend with a newborn is food. Get on your most trusted food delivery app and order a meal or two to their house. This way, they won't have to worry about feeding the rest of the family on top of all the new baby hassle.
With food, you're relieving your friend from thinking about one aspect of life with a newborn but new parents have many other things they have to think about.
Stichting Steun Emma Kinderziekenhuis is a children's hospital in Amsterdam trying to provide parents and children with the best healthcare. Donate to them below and relieve more parents and their babies.
5. The Treehugger
The friend that loves the great outdoors. They're always on a hike, going on a hike or talking about a hike that they've just been to. They wear hiking boots on every occasion because "it's just really practical".
The best gift for this friend is a new hobby that they can do outdoors, so why not give them an introductory course for an adventure sport. My personal favourite is bouldering which can also be done indoors. Bonus points: the friend will shut up about not being able to go hiking in the winter months.
This friend loves trees as much as they love ugly footwear but if we keep going at this rate of deforestation there will be no trees left to love. Cool Earth is an organisation that works with local communities to protect rainforests in the Amazon. Donate to them below to make sure there are trees left to hug on your friend's many hikes.
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Join us for the second of our Kinder Conversations - the Sky has a Limit.
Following our investigation into the Future of Meat in February, we've turned our attention to the sky. We'll be talking about whether air travel can be more sustainable, and how.
We're delighted to be hosting this event in collaboration with our friends at TQ, the Amsterdam tech hub where we're based.
📅 When Monday 17 June 18:30 - 20:30
📭 Where TQ, Singel 542, Amsterdam
🎯 Why should I fly Kinder? To hear about the latest research and technology making air travel more sustainable. To find out what you can do to reduce the impact your flights are having. To share a drink with like-minded travelers, and sample some of our vegan snacks (including beloved Professor Grunschnabel ice cream, as seen at the Future of Meat event)
Here at Kinder, we believe that greener travel is one of the key ways in which we can tackle the climate crisis. Travelling green can mean a lot of things, but right now we’re concerned about the aviation industry.
If aviation were a country, it’d be a top 10 polluter - and C02 emissions from air travel are growing many times faster than any other form. We’re already in a very dangerous position, and although there are many potential solutions, we sometimes feel overwhelmed and uncertain about what to do about it.
That’s where Kinder Conversations comes in.
Kinder Conversations is a series of events which delve into the biggest issues facing the world.
At the Sky has a Limit, we’ll be bringing together representatives from research and technology, the aviation industry and the not-for-profit sector to talk about sustainable air travel. We’ll hear more about the problem, and a lot more about the solutions.
Plus, there’ll be time to get a drink from TQ’s bar (buying a drink helps our friends from TQ support more events like this), try some vegan ice cream, and chat to fellow travellers about the steps you can take to travel greener.
✈️ Are you ready to #flykinder? Then secure your boarding pass here.
I don't have a driving license and when pressed about getting one by friends tired of chauffeuring me around I usually say I will only get one if I can drive something cool, like the Batmobile or a flying car. Unfortunately, I might have to honour that promise as it seems that flying cars are finally taking off (alas, no commercial Batmobiles in sight).
Indeed, several promising startups around the world are working to deliver the "car of the future" over the next few years. Like the Dutch company PAL-V that showed off a limited edition of its flying car at the Geneva Auto Show in Switzerland.
The PAL-V is a hybrid between a car and a helicopter (or more precisely, a gyrocopter), able to reach a top speed of 160 km/h on the tarmac but also get airborne in just 5 minutes, hitting airspeeds of 180 km/h over a range of up to 500 km. But since buying a PAL-V will set you back around € 350,000 I might have to pass on this one. Moreover, flying this beauty requires not just a driving license but also (understandably) a license to fly, and that's just too much for me.
Thankfully, other companies are developing vehicles that need no driver at all. Aerospace manufacturer Bell Helicopter, for example, is working on Nexus, an air taxi capable of taking off and landing in the middle of a city (whereas the PAL-V still needs a runway, albeit short, to get airborne).
Called VTOLs (short for Vertical Take Off and Landing), these aircraft aim to become sort of an Uber of urban air travel, bringing customers to the opposite part of the city or even to a nearby city in a matter of few minutes.
If you're at JFK airport in New York, for example, and have a meeting in Manhattan, instead of embarking on a 1-hour, Cosmopolis-style taxi ride, you could just hail a flying car and be downtown in 5 minutes.
Futuristic as it may sound, concrete plans to make it come true are underway. Earlier this month, German startup Lilium successfully completed the first test of its new five-seater Lilium Jet, an electric vehicle that, according to the company, will have a range of 300 km and a top speed of 300 km/h.
The reason electric flight is such an exciting area of research is not just because flying taxis will allow a handful of high rollers to drastically cut on their commuting time. Electric flying cars might be really good for the environment too.
A recent study published by Nature highlighted that, in some cases, flying cars could eventually be greener than even electric road cars, cutting emissions while reducing traffic on increasingly busy roads.
Moreover, developments in the field of flying cars could also boost the research on electric flight at large, including long haul electric flights, sort of the Holy Grail of aviation. And, as known, the civil aviation industry needs to find effective ways to lower its carbon emissions as soon as possible.
However, as explained by Hugh Hunt in an article on The Conversation that we republished here on Kinder World, "gaps in necessary technology and practical uncertainties beyond the cars’ promising physics mean that they may not arrive in time to be a large-scale solution to the energy crisis and congestion."
Let's get this one thing straight: most people prefer flying to other modes of transport, and we seem to do it more and more often. The airline industry is booming and 4.1 billion passengers have been transported last year. Almost every figure one looks at shows the impressive increase in flights over the last two decades.
Alexandre de Juniac, head of the International Association for Flight Transport proclaims: “In 2000, the average citizen flew just once every 43 months. In 2017, the figure was once every 22 months. Flying has never been more accessible. And this is liberating people to explore more of our planet for work, leisure, and education. Aviation is the business of freedom."
However, this ‘business of freedom’ runs on fossil energy carriers as planes still almost exclusively fly on kerosene. Kerosene is a fuel produced by oil refining and carbon dioxide (CO2) is the major product of burning kerosene. The 2-5% of all global CO2 emissions the aviation industry emits is caused by its fuel consumption (and choice). And unlike other fuels like diesel or gasoline, airlines don't pay taxes on kerosene in most countries — making cheap air travel possible.
In 2018 Europe’s biggest airline Ryanair became number 9 in the list of Europe’s biggest CO2 emitters and still claims to be the ‘greenest and cleanest airline’. Andrew Murphy – the aviation manager at the European Federation for Transport and Environment — argues that Ryanair the new coal when it comes to climate pollution. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary, on the other hand, dismisses such claims by saying the claims are ‘’complete and utter rubbish’’.
Other airlines, like KLM who partly uses renewable jet-fuel, are acknowledging the problem but they aren't too far behind Ryanair on the list of emitters.
The growth of the industry is not expected to slow down. India and China are the biggest growth markets, the latter alone is building 200 new commercial airports in the next ten years. Moreover, industry forecasts suggest that emissions will rise by 700% until 2050 which amounts to more than 4% of the world’s remaining carbon budget.
If we want to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement, every the average earthling has a quota of two tons of CO2 per annum but just a return trip between New York and Amsterdam generates three tons already.
Compared to other modes of transport planes are the biggest CO2 emitters per travelled kilometre followed by cars, buses and finally trains which are the least polluting. The CO2 emissions, however, are only one half of the medal. The impact of flying on global warming is different than most other transport as it happens in the air high above the ground where the processes that cause or reduce global warming happen. These include CO2 and nitrogen oxide emission but also cloud formation, ozone and soot as well as methane reduction.
The climate impact of the emitted greenhouse gases in the stratosphere are three times higher than on the ground. Flying also causes condensation trails and fog clouds in certain weather conditions. Such clouds can have a warming or a cooling effect on the climate. One way to improve the climate effect of flying would be planning better routes where warming clouds are avoided and the formation of cooling clouds is favoured — our current routes have an overall warming effect.
So, hypothetically, some flights with clever flight-route planning might even reduce global warming. However, as we don't have time to hypothesise, we need to find and urgently implement other ways to bring down the impact of flying, like using better fuels or even better planes.
This article was written by Eric Schuler for Kinder World. Schuler is a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam and works on new industrial sustainable chemistries to turn captured CO2 into useful things such as plastics or fuel. He's also a photojournalist with an interest in climate and land-use change.