Climate change is considered the third most serious issue facing the world, only after international terrorism and poverty & hunger. So much so that all 197 signatories and ratifiers of the Paris Agreement of 2016 have at least one policy on climate change or the transition to a low carbon economy. The same movement however, has been formerly referred to as a Chinese Hoax by some world leaders. It is believed that the Paris deal, like the OPEC production quota which more often than not overshoots, is hard to enforce. While acknowledging the challenges of climate change publicly remains the only recognized conquest of the agreement so far, strengthening the laws governing climate mitigation remains a huge challenge internationally.
95% of the alarming warming trend can unequivocally be attributed to human activity. Though many economists are convinced that the secret weapon to solve global warming is people and their trigger is price, the politically divisive policy of carbon taxes being levied by the governments worldwide on the carbon contents of the fuels consumed, has still not proven enough to cut down the actual international emissions levels to the expected target level settled upon in the Agreement.
Wind, geothermal and biomass electricity together accounted only for 1.6% of the final global energy consumption as of 2016. This indicates that we are miles from replacing fossil fuels as the premier energy generator. Burning of fossil fuels is a major contributor to the emission of greenhouse gasses that are causing the global temperature rise. The energy efficient bandwagon of solar energy has started gaining ground with more and more investments in solar reservoirs taking place. The solar revolution takes hold as more solar-powered backpacks, watches and city trash cans come into existence. It is indispensable to shift the burden of energy usage to renewable sources that require a heavy initial investment but pay equally heavy rewards in the long run by cutting costs and saving energy. Here’s hoping for a cheaper and faster multipurpose solar cooker for homes than the ones available in the market so that more people can be umbrellaed under the environmental cause.
While the world economies are facing the heat when it comes to the subject of global temperature rise, Academicians and Entrepreneurs have started taking matters into their hands.
Stanford scientists have developed a hydrogen-based battery that could provide a cheap way to store wind or solar energy. Though a small-scale invention only capable of storing 20 Milliwatt Hours of electricity (enough to charge small LED Flashlights), the inventors are confident that they can scale this up to an industrial level. The scope of scientific research in more such inventions definitely seems enormous.
At this Creamery in LA, every batch of ice-cream is churned by bicycle. 20 minutes of peddling earns a customer a free scoop of their organic desserts. As hipster as this may sound, who could have imagined that a concept in the food industry will seek the dual goal of achieving health benefits along with energy conservation. Can this concept not be trickled down to a lot more areas in the F&B sector?
Can the carbon footprint of every individual, which is the total carbon emissions caused by them, be somewhere included in their social media profiles? Just as the ‘likes’ are a measure of popularity of a person and justify their social standing, can a carbon footprint indicator also show their status as an environmentally conscious person. Once this becomes a thing, streets will definitely be greener and homes definitely eco-friendlier.
Energy efficient home improvement solutions are another area to explore. Most of us don’t even realize how things that we do out of habit might be piling on to the worries of the planet. If we can create a centralized platform to keep a tab on all our activities inside our house that might be wasting energy or an application that reminds us to switch the lights off before leaving a room, turn the tap off while brushing our teeth, locate where to buy better energy efficient bulbs, rewarding us points on achieving each of these goals throughout the day. Such points could be utilized for redemption at some partner associations. Optimal heating and cooling plans for the specification of our house also matter a great deal. The same platform can also suggest insulation solutions etc. Idle load- leaving a plug on in a socket without an appliance attached can consume more energy than we can fathom. The same application can remind us to pull the plug, power our homes with renewable energy such as solar geysers and other energy efficient appliances. It’s time to embrace the power of our homes.
Most of the times we avoid the recycling process and simply discard our waste because it is cumbersome to find a place which will give back life to our old belongings. With a service like iRecycle, which currently operates only in the US, one can find where objects ranging from used motor oil to old magazines are recycled. Operating Do-It-Yourself/ best out of waste channels as shown here can encourage people to upcycle stuff from within their homes. This way, lesser objects end up as landfills and lower the overall carbon emissions from waste thereby saving the environment.
A play for a cause platform for artists can also be launched. Apart from their regular performances, artists can sign up for performing for a cause during their relatively free slots. Whatever money is raised from such concerts goes to the cause chosen by the artist. Sting used to perform to protect the rainforests. All the money raised from his concerts would go towards the chosen foundation. All interested artists can register and upload the information about their gigs like they would on a social media platform disclosing the cause they would be willing to support. Users can buy the tickets and catch their favourite artists performing. Proceeds go towards saving the planet. Entertainment for a noble cause!
As Kermit the frog says, ‘it’s not easy being green’. It sure is THE way to go.