By: Scot Frank

Eight years ago in the Himalayas, a group of nomads, scientists, and entrepreneurs dreamt of a business that helps both people and the planet. Today, One Earth Designs creates and sells products that are already providing clean energy to thousands of people in need.

Winning the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge in 2010, and the support of the Dutch Postcode Lottery and DOEN Foundation, has made our dream possible. They have enabled us to get life-saving technologies into the homes of people who would otherwise be poisoned by the smoke from burning polluting fuels for their basic energy needs.

For some, summertime equals campfires and BBQ parties. However, what counts as a luxurious and enjoyable pastime for the lucky few, is actually a serious healthhazard for most. Globally, over four million people die every year from household air pollution, mostly due to cooking over burning wood, animal dung or charcoal. To paint another grim picture of the situation, the average wood-burning stove can produce 400 cigarettes worth of smoke every hour.

We became aware of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge through 2008 winner, Eben Bayer back in 2010 when we first started brick growing experiments. We have watched his and Ecovatives success continue and knew that when we were ready as a business, we were going to apply. In January 2013, we at bioMASON sat down and made a goal to enter this year with 7 months to prepare for the July 17th deadline.

It is hard to believe a month has passed since we were in Amsterdam, celebrating a big win with newfound friends. The week was highly planned for the participants, which calmed a lot of initial nerves. We felt as though we were part of a larger family together with the PLGC team, the other finalists, previous winners and the highly esteemed jury.

By: Max Christern, host of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge
Screw it, just do it. Those were the last words Richard Branson spoke when I interviewed him on stage while hosting the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2013 in Amsterdam recently. And if I had to summarize what he said during the nineteen minutes before we ended our talk it more or less comes down to this same phrase: Screw it, just do it. The five finalists who made it to this year’s final of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge can learn from that.

Blogpost by long-time jury member Marty Pickett of the Rocky Mountain Institute

Want to be inspired? Need some optimism about our ability to kick the carbon emissions habit? Wonder if there are any new, innovative ideas that could create real change?

I just had a healthy dose of inspiration and hope for the future. It’s been an exciting couple of days in Amsterdam where I served for my fourth year as a juror in the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge .

Ginger Dosier wins EUR 500,000!

Ginger Dosier of the United States has won the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2013. The jury, chaired by Richard Branson, awarded her €500,000 today at the final in Amsterdam to realise her green business plan. The jury chose Dosier for her company BioMason’s CO2-free brick production process. BioMason uses bacteria to ‘grow’ bricks out of readily available materials such as sand. The bricks compare favourably with traditional fired clay ones, whose manufacturing releases copious greenhouse gas emissions. Dutchmen Wolbert Allaart and Patrick Heuts were both awarded with a €100,000 runner-up prize for their green plans.


It must have been in the early nineties that I saw him in person for the first time: Richard Branson. As a young journalist working for Dutch daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad, I was sent to London to cover an airline seminar during which plans for liberalisation of the European airline industry were to be discussed. As Branson was getting ready to give a speech at the seminar, I was sort of expecting a cocky man with a big mouth. Instead, Richard Branson was very humble, almost shy, and a bit awkward even; wearing an old corduroy jacket, he could easily have been a colleague of mine at the editorial office of the newspaper. From that time on, I followed this man with special interest. From that time on, I followed this man with special interest.

Humans are exceptionally thorough in making sure our plastic waste fills every corner of the earth and simultaneously they’re shockingly effective in allowing methane gas to burn away the ozone layer. Methane, is a greenhouse gas emitted from industry, agriculture, and waste management activities, such as wastewater treatment plants. Molly Morse, Anne Schauer-Gimenez and Allison Pieja, founders of Mango Materials, have found a way to tackle both our plastics and methane problem.

This is an excerpt from an article by Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson that can be read in full on Core77's website.

In June, the Green Island, New York company Ecovative "grew" a house. From mushrooms. This is just the latest radical experiment from the materials-production outfit known for using mycelium—or the roots of mushrooms—to create biomaterials for everyday applications like wall insulation and packaging. For the aforementioned house, the company filled the pine tongue-and-groove walls of a 60-square-foot structure with its fire-resistant, environmentally-friendly Mushroom Insulation. "That house is still alive," says Ecovative's 28-year-old co-founder Eben Bayer. "If you were to cut a hole in the wall to run wiring, for example, the material would be dry. If you spritzed it with water, it would grow back and close in around the wiring."

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