The Litter Gitter Project, Sports Shoes Power Smart Phones. Pernambuco Wood Conservation, Vegan Violins?

by | Feb 2, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

The Litter Gitter project, plus sports shoes power smart phones. Endangered Pernambuco wood conservation, and vegan violins?



In 2018, Frisco, Texas middle-schooler Lino Marrero first learned about kinetic energy in science class. The next day, after finishing soccer practice he needed to call his mom. But his cell phone was out of juice. It’s then that the thought occurred to him, “What if I could harness the kinetic energy from running around the soccer pitch  to charge his phone? That’s when the idea for Kinetic Kickz 2.0 was born. 

According to Marrero, “The Kinetic Kickz 2.0 is a shoe insert energy generator housed inside the sole of a shoe that I also invented with zipper technology.” In other words, his shoe insert  collects energy from walking, running, or any activity. That energy can be used to  charge portable devices.

The inserts  collect your kinetic energy that comes from movement, and converts it to electricity, electricity made available to charge electronic devices.. Marrero estimates that walking for 12 minutes can generate enough kinetic energy to charge 10% of a cell phone battery.⁣

(Even more incentive to go walking. Plus unlike so many charging devices, as long as you put them on your feet, your charging device is always with you.)

Why does Lino Marrero’s invention matter to us? The layers of ingenuity in the design. First, the fact that Kinetic Kickz 2.0 is an insert makes it interchangeable with shoes that support it. Second, its zipper design which facilitates interchangeability. And third, its simplicity. 

Said Marrero in an interview with Spectrum News 1, “The Kinetic Kickz 2.0 taps into human kinetic energy as a new, clean alternative energy source.” Kinetic Kickz 2.0 are not yet for sale. The Climate Daily will keep you informed about any progress made on bringing them to market.




The Litter Gitter Project launched in December 2019 in partnership with the Freshwater Land Trust (FLT), which conserves and protects the land and water in Central Alabama.

The litter gitter is an in-stream collection device that collects litter from stormwater runoff, removing and preventing floating litter traveling downstream into estuaries and oceans.  Osprey Initiative,. an Alabama based environmental contractor that creates devices and programs to address environmental issues, owns the patent.

The project came about because too many locals were upset by the sheer volume of trash polluting Alabama waterways.  Alabama creeks and rivers were not living up to that state’s motto of “Alabama the Beautiful.” Community members were also aware that trash-packed rivers threatened biodiversity. Currently, Litter Gitters operate in ten rivers between the Black Warrior River and Cahaba River Watersheds. Recently three new gitters were deployed  in south Florida.

According to Rusha Smith,  Executive Director at Freshwater Land Trust, “About 50% of the trash we’ve collected are plastics, and 25% styrofoam,” Added Sally LaRue, the Trust’s Outreach Coordinator, “Litter Gitters benefit every single person in our community.”

Why does The Litter Gitter Project matter to us? It is a great example of individuals, communities, and government institutions working together to fund solutions at the local level to address local environmental issues. Since 2019, the litter gitter project has removed more than 11,000 pounds of trash from Alabama’s rivers. 

DEEPER DIVEFreshwater Land Trust, Bham Now



Padraig O’Dubhlaoidh’s (Pawrig O’Dooley) research and knowledge has provided the greatest single independent contribution to the definitive reference work on violin conservation. Some of his research is published in the book titled “The Conservation, Restoration, and Repair of Stringed Instruments and Their Bows” published by the International Pernambuco Conservation Initiative (IPCI).

The IPCI is a not-for-profit-organization formed in May 2000 by an international group of bow makers. Stringed instrument bows have been made from the Pernambuco tree for over 250 years.  The Pernambuco tree is Brazil’s national tree.

The tree is now listed as an endangered species largely due to two and half  centuries of unrestrained harvesting. Once sprawling through the Amazon, the forest today exists only in small isolated stands , and in a small area on the South American coast. 

In 2003 the IPCI initiated Programa Pau Brasil Programa. The program calls for the replanting of Pernambuco in the cacao habitats of Bahia state. Communities are paid to raise thousands of pernambuco seedlings in nurseries and then distribute the seedlings to farmers to provide their cacao bushes with much-needed shade.

It is hoped that the program provides farmers with an economic incentive for keeping the trees standing during the 30 years or so needed to produce usable wood.

Why does IPCI’s work matter to us? Through IPCI’s conservation work, Brazilian federal and state laws now forbid the harvesting Pernambuco under most circumstances. The work of the IPCI can be potentially adapted and duplicated elsewhere, thus preserving biodiversity.

DEEPER DIVE: The Violin Shop, LA Times, Smithsonian, Aitchison & Mnatzaganian Cello Makers



Padraig O’Dubhlaoidh (Pawrig O’Dooley), an amateur violinist, has created the first set of 100% plant-based violins. O’Dubhlaoidh, who grew up in Ireland, moved to Wales in his youth to study violin-making. Today he lives in Malvern HIlls, UK where he’s been making traditional violins for 40 at his workshop.

With the rising concerns about the environment, he decided to embark on the project to make a fully plant-based violin during the coronavirus lockdown. If you’re like me, one of your first questions might be, how is a violin NOT plant-based?

Violin strings and bows can contain ivory, horse tail hair, as well as animal intestines. There are even other animal-derived products. O’Dubhlaoidh’s plant-based concept is the only one to be registered with the Vegan Society’s Vegan Trademark because the whole instrument, violin and bow, are entirely free of animal products.

Unlike traditional violin makers, O’Dubhlaoidh (O’Dooley) uses a natural dye made from pears and wild berries to dye the wood inlays. Why does a vegan violin matter to us? Perhaps these techniques used by O’Dubhlaoidh (O’Dooley) can be applied to all orchestral string instruments. Connecting two things we love– music and nature by one common note of ecological conservation.

Ethically-minded musicians have long wished for fully vegan options. Says O’Dubhlaoidh (O’Dooley,) “With our planet facing crises on almost every front, the collective voice of people wanting a fairer future grows stronger every day.”

DEEPER DIVE:  Classic FM, BBC News, Plant-based News