Throughout history philosophers, revolutionaries and religious leaders have asked us to reexamine our values and the way we live. Now our planet and Gen Z are asking. Each year, humans are responsible for emitting 6 billion tons of heat-trapping carbon into atmosphere. The science is clear, a two-degree C or 3.6-degree F increase in global temperature is the absolute maximum level that will enable the earth’s systems to operate without major disruptions, and GHG emissions are rapidly approaching this limit.
We are certainly not short of technological developments to provide solutions and reduce many of the climate change impacts we are causing. However as we continue to look for more answers to protect our planet’s life-giving systems, we must also take responsibility and change our everyday habits. Behavior change is necessary for sustainability.
We are moving rapidly towards a world with 9 billion people and dwindling renewal resources. Fostering sustainable behavior combined with technological development has become increasingly important. Without BIG changes in the kind and quantity of energy we use and consume we will never meet the 2°C target established by the COP21.
Sunny days ahead for Big change
Renewable energy, especially solar, is one of the solutions to climate disruptions. The industry is booming, and the costs are falling. Rooftop panels to convert sunlight directly to electricity now cost one-tenth of what they cost 20 years ago. New solar roof technology introduced by the inspiring sun-to-vehicle energy firm, Tesla, will be powering homes with “smart” renewable energy that is invisible to the eye. The stylish solar roof tiles are powerful, made from durable, long-lasting tempered glass, and cost less to install and manufacture than traditional roofing tiles; plus, shipping the product will have a lower carbon footprint, since it weighs a fifth of traditional roofing.
In the US the average person generate 4.3 pounds of waste daily. 55% is buried in landfills. Organics materials comprise over 40% of what goes into a landfill while emitting methane gas, one of the most harmful GHGs that contribute to global warming.
Regreen International Solutions, Inc. developed a technology that turns food waste into usable resources. CEO and Inventor Albert Mardikian, invented a patented, low emissions, and proven waste system technology that takes unwanted food and converts into animal feed and soil amendments or fuel. This unprecedented technology reduces material going to landfill and the consequent methane leakage by processing MSW or organic waste into renewable fuel pellets,which in turn can be used to generate heat for power generation. Even the ash created can be turned into a resource and used for mixing cement, asphalt or manufacturing bricks for construction. Regreen’s Organic Recycling Processor takes thirty minutes to convert unwanted organics into marketable by-products. The machine separates the liquids from the solids. The resulting liquids are used for irrigation or processed through an anaerobic digestion system to extract methane for biogas; the solids are processed through radiant thermal heat, killing all viruses, odors and bacteria, while preserving all the nutrients.
Finished product that was once considered waste is now a useful resource. Formerly discarded materials are converted to another product. This process mimics Nature’s no-waste cycle.
Finally, It is imperative that we also change the linear system of take, make, waste. This throwaway ethic is much too wasteful of energy, water, and materials. The alternative to this, the circular economy system, is restorative by design. In the current system we extract, inefficiently manufacture, and burn or bury our unwanted materials. The circular economy system keeps products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. It has proven to provide a reduction in climate change risks while serving a healthy economy, in which there is no waste.
The speed with which we respond to adopting climate change solutions will determine the grace or trauma of this transition. I am confident when humans unlock their unused potential everything is possible. I forecast sunny days ahead.