Need some things to feel optimistic about? The BBC has this!

There is a wonderful podcast and video series on the BBC News called “People Fixing the World.” Their Facebook page describes it as the “BBC’s solutions programme finding the amazing people tackling some of the world’s toughest problems.” Many of the solutions center on environmental challenges.

One of the videos shares a growing urban farming practice of creating indoor vertical gardens. At a time when we are becoming aware of the fragility of the world’s food supply chain, this technique holds promise for bringing some types of crops closer to urban consumers. The video features a large indoor vertical farm in Berlin and also an indoor strawberry farm in Paris that has its own colony of bumblebees for inhouse pollination services. Take a look below. 1



There is an interesting video about how a sewage processing system in the Netherlands is working to extract phosphorus from human waste to turn it into fertilizer. It is a response to concerns about how long the world’s supply of phosphorus is predicted to last. The innovation is detailed in the video below.2


According to the video, each of us contributes about 500 grams of phosphorous to our local sewage systems.2 The extraction process described in the video is a step up from the decades-old practice of spreading sewage sludge on agricultural land which itself was a substitute for previous practices like sea disposal or incineration of sewage sludge.3 The fertilizer produced by the process is insoluble in water so there is no run-off from agricultural fields into surrounding waterways. 2

I encourage readers in the mood for some good news to visit the entire People Fixing the World series that includes a video about eyeglass frames made from coffee grounds instead of plastic; a video about how researchers are rescuing banana plants from a soil fungus (Fusarium oxysporum) by growing banana trees in batts of rockwool insulation to interrupt the disease process and buy time until more comprehensive solutions are found to combat the fungus; and even a video about how cattle grazing pastures in Colombia have been cultivated to have a variety of plants and flowers which makes for a less gassy cow diet that reduces greenhouse gases.

Thanks, BBC and thanks to all of the remarkable minds behind the inventive ideas!! I needed some good news!

—R.A. Kroft


1BBC News. “The farmers bringing their fields indoors.” People Fixing the World. 29 April 2020.

2BBC News. “There’s treasure in your toilet and it can help the planet.” People Fixing the World. 25 March 2020.

3McLaughlin MJ. (1984) Land application of sewage sludge: Phosphorus considerations. South African Journal of Plant and Soil. 1984;1 (1): 21-29.

R.A. Kroft writes about her day-to-day journey in living a smaller, more sustainable life and other topics that interest her.

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