So how has technology ravaged the planet? NASA lists the leading cause of climate change to be the release of greenhouse gases, which produces the ‘greenhouse effect.’ This is the trapping of the sun’s warmth in the Earth’s lower atmosphere which is caused by the gases released by human activity. The human activity generating these gases is pretty much everything that modern life entails, including travel, consumerism and using electricity.
Artificial aids can help us and innovations in technology can help to create new and better-living conditions. Climate change will force industries to transform and there are already many ways that this transformation is already being implemented.
Solar panels which absorb sunlight and transform it into energy were first built in the USA and the world’s largest individual solar power project was built in Abu Dhabi. The project was a result of a partnership between Chinese and Japanese companies and consisted of 3.2 million solar panels. China is set to be the authority on how energy is produced in the coming years with solar technology that could power the entire UK over and over again.
Humans produce the powerful greenhouse gas Methane by fracking, burning forests, fossil fuel production, distribution and use and landfills, amongst other activities. New York-based non-profit The Environmental Defense Fund is developing technology to stop methane emissions. The project is entitled MethaneSAT and will consist of building a satellite to precisely spot where methane emissions are being emitted from anywhere on Earth.
French company Leosphere also help with measuring changes in the climate. The company designs develops and manufactures wind and atmosphere measurement equipment. The equipment provides real-time wind and aerosol measurements of mining and industrial particles to help control emissions and meet environmental standards. This is important as wind energy can reduce the number of fossil fuels burnt using electrical energy so could provide a very successful solution to climate change.
California-based company Apeel Sciences have crafted a non-toxic spray that will extend the shelf life of fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables. The product is made from lipids and glycerolipids that already exist in natural foods and extends the foods’ life by maintaining moisture and reducing oxidation. Reducing food waste is vital as food waste contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases (in the UK, we waste 10 million tonnes of food every year) and in Scotland, food waste is a greater contributor to greenhouse gases than plastic.
The consumption of meat and dairy is also high on the agenda when it comes to how food contributes to climate change, meat and beef in particular. Producing meat to meet the demand for it is having terrible effects on the planet. The production of meat causes fossil fuel pollution, methane produced from animals as well as water and land consumption, which all contribute to the climate catastrophe. Companies including Quorn, Beyond Burger, Impossible Foods and much more are dedicated to creating meat alternatives that actually taste good.
Carbon Recycling International of Iceland creates ‘Emissions-to-Liquids Technology (ETL)’ that transforms carbon dioxide emissions and hydrogen into methanol which can then be used for greener fuel, chemicals and products. The process uses electricity from renewable sources and hydrogen-rich by-products or waste gas.
Technology is both the cure and the cause of our current climate catastrophe. With decades of frivolous and uncontrolled use, we are proving the theory that a species’ evolution leads to its destruction. But it doesn’t have to end here. With the rate of technological innovation, we must change our past patterns and start to use it for the greater good of the planet.