Human Journey

Meat Farms, Solar Shingles, Tank-Farmed TunaAmong Some of the Year’s Best Inventions

Along with teleporting technology, electronic eyes, and HIV immunization, a handful of green innovations that could change the way we eat, heat, and drive made Time magazine’s 2009 list of best inventions, released today.

Coming in at number two: Tank-bred southern bluefin tuna that successfully spawned in Port Lincoln, Australia. Southern bluefin, sought after for sushi and sashimi, have been dangerously overfished. A tank harvest could relieve pressure on threatened wild populations of the species, which has declined by nearly 90 percent since population estimates were first made decades ago.

Read more about how to find sustainable fish.

Making the list at number 13 is the Powerhouse Solar Shingle, produced by Dow Chemical Co. The shingles serve as roofing and solar panels that are expected to cost up to 15 percent less than traditional solar roof installations.

Learn more about other innovative solar technologies.

Time‘s number 36 is meat farming, the promise of which is brought to us by Dutch scientists who are coming close to growing muscle (meat) from pig stem cells.

And some of Time‘s picks had legs before 2009, but are worth mentioning for the amount of energy and money they can save:

Number 3: A new LED bulb by Philips Electronics that uses fewer than 10 watts and lasts for 25,000 hours.

Number 4: The EnergyHub Dashboard smart thermostat, which tells you how much power individual appliances are sucking up and how big of a dent they’re putting in your wallet.

Number 12: The personal carbon footprint, so you know how much of a contribution you and your appliances are making to global warming.

Number 16: Vertical farming, or growing produce in stacked planting beds. See pictures of vertical farms.

Number 25: The Nissan Leaf–what manufacturers and some experts are calling the first electric car for the masses. Production is scheduled to start in the fall of 2010.

Number 31: “The Living Wall,” an eight-story botanical installation with nearly 260 species on the exterior of London’s Athenaeum Hotel. Using plants to cover exterior walls has been known to help reduce heating and cooling costs.

And Number 34: The human-powered vending machine.

–Tasha Eichenseher

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Tasha Eichenseher is the Environment Producer and Editor for National Geographic Digital Media. She has covered water issues for a wide range of media outlets, including E/The Environment Magazine, Environmental Science & Technology online news, Greenwire, Green Guide, and National Geographic News.

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