Fish Leather Is High Fashion

Fish Leather Is High Fashion

May 20, 2019

Fish skins are being transformed into high-fashion pieces!

Europe’s only fish tannery, Iceland’s Atlantic Leather, produces about one ton, or 10,000 skins, of fish leather each month.

All fish come from sustainable sources, and the tannery uses hydro and geothermal power to run its facility.  All water is reused eight or nine times during the production process.  In addition, natural, non-polluting dyes color the skins, which are then transformed into purses, shoes, belts, and other high-end fashion by some of Europe’s top designers.

Fish leather holds potential as a substitute for leather from endangered species like snakes and alligators.


Video Spotlight:Uneins X Atlantic Leather Iceland


This post is based on the Bloomberg article, Meet the fish leather pioneers, by Beth Timmins, May 1, 2019; and the YouTube video, Uneins X Atlantic Leather Iceland, by ilshll, August 4, 2017. Image source: NorthStar203/Getty Images

Discussion Questions:

1. How might fish leather help improve the livelihood of fishing communities?

Guidance: While fish leather currently represents only 1% of total leather production, it holds promise as a way to improve the livelihood of fishing communities by creating an industry from a major by-product without cutting into Continue reading

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The Fight Against Superbugs Is All About Money

The Fight Against Superbugs Is All About Money

Low demand and profitability have prompted large pharmaceutical companies to exit the antibiotics market.

As intensive care units around the country struggle to combat increasingly resistant bacteria, companies developing the new generations of antibiotics aimed at killing them are shutting down.

The reason? Low revenues that do not cover the substantial investments in R&D. Doctors and public health experts are taking notice and proposing funding alternatives.


Video Spotlight:We’re losing the war against bacteria, here’s why


This post is based on the Bloomberg article, Antibiotics Aren’t Profitable Enough for Big Pharma to Make More, by R. Langreth, May 3, 2019; and the YouTube video, We’re losing the war against bacteria, here’s why, by The New York Times, April 8, 2019. Image source: CDC/James Gathany

Discussion Questions:

1. Why are profits low in the antibiotics industry?

Guidance: Given the time and resources required to do the research, the R&D costs of developing a new antibiotic are typically high. Yet, the selling price is low compared to that of other drugs (e.g. cancer drugs), and the demand is relatively low. Not only are doctors reluctant to prescribe new antibiotics unless they are absolutely needed, but the demand Continue reading

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California’s Ag Labor Shortages Lead to Automation

California’s Ag Labor Shortages Lead to Automation

May 19, 2019

California’s farmers, who produce almost half of the nation’s fresh fruits and vegetables and over 90% of tree nuts, are increasingly mechanizing operations to cope with ongoing labor shortages and increasing costs of labor.

In particular, mechanized planters, weeders, and harvesters, along with specialized tractor attachments are gaining popularity.  Robotic farm technology is also being developed to harvest crops like strawberries and grapes.

One other potential way to address the labor shortage lies in improving the cumbersome temporary visa program that allows people from other countries to enter legally for the purpose of filling jobs that American workers don’t want to do.


Video Spotlight: Farms Face A Severe Labor Shortage And These Robots Are Here To Help


This post is based on the CNBC article, California farmers increasingly turning to mechanization due to labor shortages, says survey, by Jeff Daniels, May 1, 2019; and the YouTube video, Farms Face A Severe Labor Shortage And These Robots Are Here To Help, by CNBC, March 8, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / tanger

Discussion Questions:

1. What are some of the pros and cons of increased use of mechanization?

Guidance: For larger farm operations with the capital Continue reading

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