Marloes Poortvliet

New Leaf – a Tiny Laboratory

The tiny self sustainable life in full glory

Going tiny – it makes natural sense!

To live small is to live a balanced life. But also the desire to contribute to a sustainable world -in this age of climate change- can be a good reason to ‘go tiny’. Because living small is good for our planet: it means higher energy efficiency, which cuts down on the use of fossil fuels; and it creates more space for the natural world: less concrete and fewer buildings means more habitat for plants, trees, insects, birds and bats, to name a few. And all this naturally adds to the joy of living tiny.

So what’s cookin’ in the Tiny Laboratory?

Chances are – if you exist tiny- you are ‘off the grid’, that is: you are unconnected to electricity-, gas- and sewerlines. Especially the lack of a handy sewer system for your wastewater to drain into brings particular challenges with it, for example: What to do with the greasy and oily water from your kitchen. How can this kitchen run-off be processed locally and naturally, without damaging the ecosystem around you? How to cut down on the amount of organic compounds in your wastewater? Are there ways to check whether the filtered water is safe for use in for example a garden? These and other questions are being answered in the Tiny Laboratory of New Leaf. Using natural ways of filtering and cleansing wastewater, I am currently designing a small, portable and circular treatment system for off-grid greywater recycling.

Other green projects and experiments running at the Tiny Laboratory are ‘Compost that shit!’, about the safe re-use of human solid waste in public gardens, and efforts to promote the use of baking soda – a safe, cheap and sustainable natural cleaning product- in bathrooms, washrooms and kitchens across the Netherlands (and ultimately the world).

Past research:

  • Genetics of manta and devil rays. Evolution, population genetics and conservation of a group of vulnerable pelagic filter feeders. University of Groningen, University of California Santa Cruz (USA) and Nord University (Norway)
  • Managed burns drive spatial habitat use in free-ranging African buffalo. University of Groningen, the Netherlands.
  • The importance of El Niňo events to the connectivity of Semicossyphus pulcher (California sheephead) populations along the southern California – Baja California coast. University of California Santa Cruz, USA.
  • Substrate quality for pearl farming in the Persian Gulf. Pearls of Dubai©, Australia.

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