Environment sustainability and preservation are one of the key-focus agendas for 2020 to 2030; considering the alarming nature of the decline of our ecosystem worldwide. On one hand, where capitalism and technology innovation has accelerated and advanced the quality and quantity of our production, on the other hand, the fact of reliance of most of our industry operations on machinery and fuels have eroded our natural ecosystems. According to clim@ 2019, the three major concerns about environmental degradation are a rise in GHG emissions and CO2 levels, burgeoning land refuse of 2.12 billion tons annually, and accelerated depletion of natural resources. Most of the startups and tools designed or proposed are targeted to recycle wastes, absorb CO2, or innovate new materials or processes to reduce the resources’ use. A brief analysis indicated the projects being more innovative in the approach than preventive. However, there are countless green initiatives chased by many governmental and non-governmental organizations through innovations and disciplines, to create a more sustainable environment.
The initiatives aim to take a string of pathways to reach the same goals by transitioning to different renewable sources of energy, proposing a more sustainable food model, preserving biodiversity, smart urban development models, population control, waste control, avoiding meteorological phenomena, and water scarcity.
By giving examples of a number of initiatives and innovations especially crafted to address the UN goals of sustainability 2015, we want to address the importance of the issue.
Green Technology Innovations:
- ColdHubs Ltd.:
ColdHubs Ltd. is a social enterprise from Nigeria that produces solar-powered walk-in cold rooms for farmer markets. These rooms can keep fruit and vegetable fresh up to twenty-one days. The initiative is preserving food as well as energy. COLIBA is a social enterprise from Côte d’Ivoire which uses the power of social media and location tracing to notify households and production units of the nearby collectors of plastic. Any plastic producing unit earns points for calling the collector which can cash out for internet data, beauty products, and food products.
Komporize is a Turkey-based startup which is using tea fibers to produce bio-composite materials used in making automotive parts and small appliances for manufacturing industries thus; using sustainable material for recycling. Whole Surplus from Turkey offers digital solutions for any food production industry to reduce carbon emissions by food wastage of humans, feedstock, recycled and animal food.
- A2P Energy:
Agri To Power (A2P Energy) took the initiative of reducing land refuse by creating a business opportunity for farmers. The crop residue is exchanged by bought by farmers and is used to create biofuel in New Delhi. A young Egyptian startup, Biodiesel Misr (BDM) is producing biodiesel from used cooking oil, thus contributing to achieving the circular economy in Africa.
Ukraine has started to commercialize CO2 by capturing it from the air and selling it at cheaper rates. They have innovated a technology called Carbominer which used IoT sensors to send data to the cloud by real-time monitoring. A solar charger is another green technology produced by a Serbian company CEEFOR which contributes to CO2 reduction. Illegal logging and wildfire are detected by an IoT device designed by an American company, Forest Guard. The battery can operate up to six years and is a significant contribution to the detection of wildfires.
BioEnergy is a German-Egyptian startup that has similar working to A2P but, produces another sustainable energy source, refuse-derived fuel (RDF) for waste-to-energy plants. It is more environment-friendly compared to fossil fuels.
- Beyond Leather Materials IVS:
Beyond Leather Materials IVS is a Danish is taking the initiative to produce a substitute material for leather.
Manyfolds is a Munich-based technology startup developed a sustainable shipping process where the packaging is of an optimal size; thereby cutting out extra delivery traffic and reducing harmful padding material.
Ecodudu is a Kenyan waste-to-value company that recycles organic waste into natural fertilizer while using black soldier fly (BSF) larvae to produce high-protein animal and fish feed. It has incentivized farmers to produce their own fertilizers.
- SMOG-free Project:
This is an initiative taken by Daan Roosegaarde; where a smog tower is built to suck the deathly smog particles. The project has been commercialized by selling jewelry to add one’s contribution to the sustainability project.
- SunDrop Farms:
SunDrop Farms is an example of energy-efficient agriculture in modern mechanized farming by powering the farm operations through concentrated sunlight and desalinating the irrigation water before use.
- B. Droid:
B. Droid is an initiative to boost the bee population for pollination by using robotic bees.
Veganbottle is another substitute for a plastic project using a material completely biodegradable.
AirCarbon is the initiative depicting killing two birds with one arrow. It has initiated the use of carbon emissions to produce a substitute for plastic.
Zéphyr is a photovoltaic balloon which has been designed to generate electricity for disaster-struck areas. The water inflated balloon converts solar energy.
Huge corporate infrastructures are being held by the Green Building initiative; where the practices of the residents, the builders, and manufacturers must all comply with the guidelines of the green living and building standards.
The Seabin is a product of another environmental initiative of cleaning the oceans by a submersible trap bag that catches dumped refuse, detergents, and oil while filtering water through it.
- PowWow Energy:
PowWow Energy is an IoT-based farm using real-time monitoring of farm operations. It saves water from being excessively used in irrigation and monitors nutrient levels in the soil.
S.Cafe has added its contribution to producing another environmentally-sustainable material made from coffee grounds; which has UV-reflective qualities, dries more quickly, and is sustainable.
International Environmental Bodies & Initiatives:
Coming from the international perspective, there have been four most recent partnerships and collaborative efforts from the international community to take up the environmental imperative seriously. Four large-scale governing bodies with their own set of agendas having many nations as their members are combatting climate change.
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:
UNFCC; or the Earth Summit as we call it; was the first global initiative that charged nations with a social obligation to reduce GHG emissions according to their expertise and mutual collaboration. It came into existence in 1992. It set a goal for all nations for 2000 to bring CO2 and other anthropogenic gases back to 1990 levels. The UNFCC has had Conference of the Parties (COPs) every year since its birth. The 2015 UNFCC was the game-changer for environmental groups because of the introduction of the new amendment and proposition of Sustainable Development Goals. It was the 21st session of the UNFCC where 196 countries attended and signed agreements to play their part in SDGs.
- Kyoto Protocol:
Due to the targets being not met, an extension to the UNFCC ensued for two periods; 2008-2012 and 2013-2020. Several amendments were made by nations slowly revoked their memberships.
- International Carbon Action Partnership:
ICAP is an international forum formed by representatives of fifteen governments for the provision of economic incentives to partner nations to invest in green technology and keep a watch on environment-polluter technology. It is called an Emissions Trading System.
- Muslim Seven Year Action Plan on Climate Change:
It is one of several action plans for the global Islamic community formed by more than three governing bodies under the UNDP. The aim is to investigate the lives and actions of regular Muslims and their religious practices from prayers to pilgrimages. The investigation would be used to build green model Islamic cities in Muslim nations as an example for other urban regions to follow. The sustainable models would be affiliated with the Islamic label and would be made more prevalent in the Islamic world. The initiative failed when the member states failed to pass the Bogor Declaration for MACCA in 2010.
With all the global initiatives, innovations, and movements for green living and green manufacturing, there is still a long way to go. The GHG emissions and fossil fuel combustions have increased by 49% since the inception of sustainability efforts combatting climate change. It is already accelerating at a rapid pace with the prediction of a 2°C increase in worldwide temperatures until 2030; if the emissions were not reduced by 25%. Since 55 of the 196 countries contribute to major GHG emissions, they have to pull their weights to work together for the sake of the environment. Combatting climate change, FTAs are being signed by countries at high risk of environmental imbalance. These countries mainly include France, China, the US, Australia, South Korea, etc. These FTAs and Border Adjustments are helping these countries to develop economic relations with lesser-developed countries by use of their lands for their production plants. The slight friction and impediment in the accelerated growth of a few countries is also beneficial for scientists. It is buying them time to assess and evaluate the extent and impact of these countries’ industrialization policies on the world’s ecosystems. It is helping them gain perspective in combatting climate change; without any rational and impulsively massive undertakings. The global community of scientists, researchers, industrialists, and governments have seriously acknowledged the detrimental effects of climate change. It has brought upon the commencement of sincere international efforts and initiatives from international organizations, engineers, and scientists to combat climate change. All the industrial innovations are green and healthy for our environment.
This onset of new green technologies reminds us of the vulnerability of our planet. It also emphasizes the responsibility we have to take care of our home. The best of all, it reminds us of the limitless potential human beings have to innovate technology that is eco-friendly. There are always two options to go about a way. If we choose an option from which all stakeholders can profit; including mother earth, then we should always go for the safer option because there is no Planet B!