Contrary to the statements of a well-known president, climate change is not only real, but also a serious threat.
We are heading towards a hothouse earth scenario, complete ecosystems die out and we are polluting oceans on a large scale.
In our transition from hunter-gatherers to agricultural societies and further towards the information age, we have somehow lost a sustainable approach to Mother Nature.
Not all of us can travel to space to understand, how fragile our “ecosystem earth” really is. However we can listen to the words of someone who did.
No one has ever better said what mankind must do than Alexander Gerst in his “Message to my grandchildren“.
From my point of view, his words should be heard and internalized by each individual person worldwide, in particular by some presidents.
Note: Activate CC for subtitles in your language.
What everyone can do…
We often feel helpless in the face of such enormous challenges. Nevertheless, there are a lot of things everyone can do.
Big changes start in the small. Here is a list of things everyone can do for themselves.
- Electrify everything e.g. cars etc.
- Use Renewables wherever possible
- Consume less, waste less, save energy, repair and reuse!
- Eat less meat, particularly beef
- Separate waste and recycle
- Let politicians worldwide hear your voice! Vote green.
- And last but not least – Inspire others. Be a role model.
Since New Year’s Eve is only a few days behind us, we can select some of the above points for us as resolutions.
Is there a better way to start a new year? The above list contains points, that are very tech-related. So, let us have a look.
…and how tech can help
Of course organizations, companies and especially politics have bigger parameters to change.
This becomes clear when one considers the energy-related CO2 emissions of certain industries. For example, manufacturing accounts for one third of all energy-related CO2 emissions worldwide. But also the Transport and Food Industry closely follow with a 25% chunk each.
With these numbers we can formulate the following demands. We need…
- …politics to enforce strict worldwide regulations. Especially the movement towards Industry 4.0 should take energy savings into account
- …innovation in carbonless energy
- …energy storage solutions
- …affordable Electric Vehicles for air, land and water transportation
- …solutions to remove remove existing Carbon
- …organic alternatives to existing materials like plastic
- …much higher efficiency in all our value chains
- …better recycling to minimize the use of available resources and the release of greenhouse gases
Nearly all of these demands can be addressed with new technology. Just follow the links for examples.
The long journey from low-carbon to carbon free power
Low-carbon power renewables like wind, solar or hydro power play an important part in the fight against climate change. Especially when they replace coal or gas-fired power plants.
Nuclear power, which is the most productive low-carbon power, is no longer desirable after Fukushima.
This leads to a big challenge. Even though the share of renewable energies in electricity generation in Germany has risen from almost zero to one third since 2000, Germany is not achieving its CO2 targets!
This is because nuclear power plants have been shut down and replaced by coal-fired power plants in order to secure national energy supplies.
Yet there are the well-known restrictions: To substitute a nuclear power plant, approximately 500 wind turbines (5MW) or 2,500 solar power systems (5MWp) are required. And this regardless of the natural fluctuations during the seasons. Furthermore the PV manufacturing process for instance is really not carbon free. For this reason, these energy sources are considered low-carbon and not carbon-free.
Nevertheless, the future belongs to those power sources, and they will work much better with a decentralized energy grid and ever improving storage solutions.
But apart from the new technologies and political necessities, we can all start today.
Let us all take responsibility and become Citizen’s 4.0.
Act now. Our planet is worth it.
And so are our grandchildren.