28 Jul Green tech for a green future
Green tech for a green future
It’s safe to say that solving climate change is a monumental challenge, and that both natural and technical solutions will need to be leveraged on a massive scale if a net zero-carbon economy is to be successfully established. But the behavioural adaptations that are required from individuals and societies as a whole will be equally demanding.
How do we encourage enthusiastic and committed behaviour changes and generate positive interest in an issue as unromantic as energy and resource efficiency? This is an issue that experts in the sustainability sector are carefully considering. Finding the balance between explaining the urgency of the situation and the positive benefits of a more sustainable society will be key. This is because human beings tend to adopt defeatist attitudes when presented with too much negative information, or may conclude that their contribution to helping to solve the crisis is irrelevant and is actually best ignored where possible.
This is one of the sad ironies of the crisis, as individual action is an essential component of any effective green transition, not only to reduce emissions directly, but also to give relevant demand signals to business and the political class. When businesses are confident that investing in sustainability will allow them to both gain returns from an ever-growing number of green-minded customers and get ahead of the curve of increasingly stringent government legislation, then they will be much more likely to absorb the cost of green investments and restructure their business practices to improve their sustainability.
In a similar vein, we at OAK Garden are on a mission to show young people that supporting a green transition is in their direct interest. We do this not through scare tactics, but rather by presenting them with exciting and relatable examples of how technologies can not only help preserve our fragile environment, but also improve our quality of life.
Children may be excited to learn about the prospect of energy autonomy offered by micro-renewable energy systems (including community energy), and potentially making money by selling electricity to the national grid, rather than spending their money on energy bills. Who wouldn’t like to have futuristic solar panels or a micro-wind turbine on your house? Insulation may sound boring, but learning about its benefits and having a warm, cosy bedroom in the winter may make it more appealing!
Creative children might be interested to learn that recycled plastic can even be turned into a yarn to feed into 3D printers, with which we can make all sorts of useful items for around the house. There are now even some mushroom-based alternatives to plastic products, and the less reliant we are on fossil fuels, the better. Who knows, we might all even start to get a taste for edible cutlery when we buy fast food!
Those kids with green fingers may be interested to learn about the potential of urban farms, which help the environment through reducing the amount of synthetic fertilisers or harmful pesticides that they require, not to mention reducing emissions resulting from the transport of the produce. Plus there is the added community benefit of having somewhere to grow food and connect with nature.
With creative thinking, kids can easily come to understand the benefits of green technology, and even appreciate something as ‘basic’ as being able to ride your bike through the paths of a newly planted (and climate saving) forest. The green transition can therefore be presented not only as a way to ensure we can all live and prosper safely in years to come, but also as a way to enjoy new opportunities and resources that can enhance our quality of life.