Bug balls instead of meatballs? Let’s talk about sustainability.


It is Earth Day today, 22nd April. So let’s take a look at some interesting facts about our home planet. These predictions are made by the United Nations: 

  • 70% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050
  • In the next 15 years we will need 40% more clean water
  • We will also need 35% more food

 And all this in just 30 more years!

That sounds like super demanding work for our planet. We depend on Earth’s natural resources for many things like water, food, fuel, fresh air and so much more. What will happen to us and the other creatures who live on this planet if we use up most of earth’s natural resources?

Well, many people are thinking up solutions for sustainability. This means they are trying to figure out ways to ‘sustain’ or ‘keep life going’ on our planet. We have talked about renewable energy sources before. We have also talked about how people are trying to cut down use of fossil fuels like oil and gas by developing electric cars. One other company that is trying to come up with ideas and solutions is a company called IKEA. This is a very big company that specialises in home furniture. It is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark.  In 2015, it started a research lab called SPACE10 to study these problems and find solutions.

What is SPACE10? It is a think tank that tries to come up with effective and realistic solutions for sustainability. The team consists of about 20 people and includes designers, engineers, architects and many other specialists—even chefs. They analyse how human beings will live over the next few decades, and come up with ideas to make our lives better. A lot of their work involves rethinking and designing new ways of living so that everyone can have a sustainable future.

Let’s take a look at some of the cool projects that SPACE10 has worked on to help us develop a sustainable future:

  1. Food:
The bug ball. Photo Credit: dezeen.com

Developing the meatball. Yes, as in meatballs and spaghetti! But SPACE10’s meatballs aren’t just made of meat. The Crispy Bug ball is made of insect proteins (ewwww!), while the Wonderful Waste Ball is made from food scraps that would normally be thrown away.

The waste ball. Photo Credit: dezeen.com

What’s the idea here? To give the increasing population an alternative to meat – thinking up solutions that are a sustainable food supply and keeping it healthy, tempting, and yummy. Yes, even the bug ball!!

2. Food and Pollution

The Micro-Algae Dome is an outdoor art exhibit built in Copenhagen by SPACE10 in partnership with three architects. They wanted to create something that would get people to see the powerful uses of micro-algae, which is a green plantlike organism found in fresh and sea water. Micro-algae are very high in protein and vitamins making them a super food that could help tackle the food crisis in developing countries. They also reduce the levels of carbon dioxide in the air, thus helping reduce pollution!


The micro-algae dome. Photo Credit: dezeen.com

3. Water

The Cloud Burst Faucet glows red to let the user know you have used more than your share of water. This is to help people save water and use it more carefully.

Photo Credit: dezeen.com

smART is a wall hanging that loses colour as the amount of water and electricity used increases, so people can be more aware of how much they use.

Photo Caption: smART. Photo Credit: dezeen.com

We think what’s pretty cool is that IKEA is getting people from different professions to come together and brainstorm and try to find new solutions to address these difficult issues. Of course there are still things that we can do on our own to help the planet – we could car pool, we could reuse and recycle our books, toys, and other things to reduce the amount that needs to be produced in factories. We could also turn the tap off while brushing our teeth to help conserve water. There are so many things we could do – we just need to put our minds to it.

Write in and give us some of your ideas!

Written by: Tanika Thacker


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