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  • Cecilia Wandiga

Kenya Sustainable Cities - Bioplastic Tribes and Space Exploration


In Kenya, and Africa, tribalism is frought with negative imagery and stories of conflict. Dominant tribes seeking to exclude others from power, wealth or entitlement. Wars. Stereotypes. And, in the worst of cases, the use of "tribalism" as an excuse for genocide.

The reality is that the existence of tribes is positive or negative based solely on our behaviour and choices. Affinity circles is the psychological term that explains our need to be among "birds of a feather." We tend to seek other humans with which we have shared history, beliefs and values. This makes life easier because we spend less time explaining why we do what we do. We also spend less time thinking about how things would be if we had a different set of beliefs, values and shared history.  

However, taking the easy route is not always beneficial. Imagine we life would be like if there was only one make, model and colour for cars anywhere in the world. What about if there was only one type and flavour of wheat flour anywhere in the world. We embrace diversity as good in the daily artifacts we use in daily life yet we reject diversity as good when it comes to our interpersonal and social relationships.  

Where is the logic in this dichotomy?

What about if we shifted our focus from negative stereotypes and insults to creating diverse affinity circles focused on 4IR (Fourth Industrial Revolution) Innovation for Earth? Would we be more inspired to innovate if we could readily identify the global tribes (affinity circles) with which we could develop our products and skills as well as our ideas on how to create better economies and countries?

Let us take a look at global tribes in bioplastics as a research and commercial activity. 

We start by taking a look at regional EU hubs (main actors and potential customers) for different biobased products. 

Top emerging bio-based products, their properties and industrial applications (2018)

https://www.ecologic.eu/sites/files/publication/2018/3513-top-emerging-bio-based-products.pdf

If you are searching for an overview of different commercial applications, the PwC report visually displays industry clusters focused on various 4IR innovation such as clean power, smart transportation, sustainable landuse, smart cities and buildings

Innovation for the Earth - PwC (2017)

https://www.pwc.com/ee/et/publications/pub/innovation-for-the-earth.pdf

Getting focused on bioplastics in particular, there are several ways to find your tribe

Bioplastics Magazine has a directory. Take a look at the 2012/2013 International Business Directory for Innovative Bio-based Plastics and Composites (IBIB)

https://www.bioplasticsmagazine.com/bioplasticsmagazine-wAssets/docs/iBIB2012-2013.pdf

In 2014, Films and Sheet Extrusion dedicated a whole issue to bio-based plastics

http://digitalversions.com/filmandsheet/FSEJanFeb2014.pdf

As you can see by the dates, there is a shared commercial history from 2012 to 2018 (probably even further with a deeper search). 

Narrowing in on how to go about Innovation for Earth in bioplastics, there is also a history thread to be followed. 

This clean technology makes possible the industrial-scale production of commercializable bio-based plastics (2017)

https://www.innovationtoronto.com/2017/09/this-clean-technology-makes-possible-the-industrial-scale-production-of-commercializable-bio-based-plastics/

You can contribute to the development of new knowledge realms by creating application matrices. 

Chitosan Matrix: Own Unequivocal Myriad Utility in Modern Scientific Development (2018)

http://crimsonpublishers.com/rdms/fulltext/RDMS.000558.php

You can examine agricultural residues for cellulose nano crystals and talk to others doing the same type of research. 

Starch Based Bio plastics Reinforced with Cellulose Nanocrystals from Agricultural Residues (2014)

http://iieng.org/images/proceedings_pdf/8956E0314037.pdf

And, if you really want to find a tribe focused on new frontiers, now that Kenya launched a nanocube satellite, you can join space researchers in advancing knowledge. 

If you are in Kinder through Form 4, see if you can design a bioplastic space container using a 3D printer 

Printing Challenges For First 3D Printer Aboard International Space Station

https://www.technology.org/2014/09/25/printing-challenges-first-3d-printer-aboard-international-space-station/

https://www.futureengineers.org/spacetools

If you are older or prefer to focus on the Internet of Things (IoT), delve into the intersection between academic and industry research by focusing on how advanced materials can be used to enhance the 

Expansion of overlap between cyber and real worlds

https://www.nec.com/en/global/rd/lab/iot/technology.html

CSTI is part of the Circular Bio-Economy Tribe and the Climate Change / Environmental Conservation Technological Innovation Clan.  

https://www.csti.or.ke/circular-economy-info

What Innovation for Earth tribes will you create in Kenya or other African countries using 4IR technology clans? 


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