Published on May 13th, 2021 | by Sunit Nandi0
How Technology can be Leveraged in The Climate Change Fight
Technology solutions are proving to be a key part of the fight to save our planet, with many focusing on ways to fight climate change.
When we think ‘tech’ our minds probably take us to products like the smartphone, or software and apps, social media perhaps. The tech companies who create these products are lauded as some of the most progressive in their thinking, and lots are committed to running their companies in a really green way.
No surprise then that tech is turning into a real powerhouse when it comes to fighting for our planet. But the solutions tech companies are pushing don’t just end when you pop your smart phone back in your pocket. There’s loads of innovation emerging that’s happening in the real world too.
Tech companies are big fans of collaboration. Maybe you know someone who works at a cool tech company or startup? They’ll probably talk sometimes about hacking solutions or doing things ‘lean’ or in ‘sprints’. What they mean is that they’re using a range of people within their company to collaborate and try and solve a problem. A real case of more heads are better than one. In the case of the environment, it’s a really effective way to use tech thinking and the processes behind groundbreaking tech to help make fresh ideas on how to help our planet. It’s proving to be such a powerful format that the White House is a fan.
Big data power
One of technology’s biggest areas of potential is its ability to sift through huge amounts of information and use it to discover things. People in tech land call this sort of thing Big Data. It’s not just about using lots of data to find things out, but it also lets us simplify findings so it’s easier to understand. And this is a big help when it comes to the environment as it lets regular people get their head around things like climate change, and what we need to do to stop it. Knowledge is power, and being informed is one of the biggest universal tools to help our world.
Head to your smartphone’s app store and you’ll find loads of apps that can help you monitor and cut down on your carbon emissions, or improve your household’s environmental credentials. But it’s not just apps that will help you make those small changes that add up to bigger ones.
One aspect of tech that’s beginning to become more transparent is the carbon footprint of the websites and applications that you might use. Lots of tech companies, as we said earlier, have really good, well thought through environmental policies. Facebook, Apple, Tesla are all pioneering in their adoption of solutions that minimise the environmental impact of their businesses.
But we don’t consider the carbon footprint of the sites that we visit and the emails we send. Each time we send or receive an email it creates a little carbon, for example, the average spam mail has a carbon footprint of 0.3g. Multiply that by the numbers of people who get sent that email (which can be hundreds of thousands, of not more) and it’s a hefty number.
So open up your email now and then and block all the spam senders and remember to unsubscribe to unwanted emails and newsletters every now and then. A climate saving at the tap of your screen is hard to beat.
Open the source
When it comes to climate science and tech there’s a positive openness when it comes to information sharing. The companies and individuals leading the charge seem to understand that this has to happen for the benefit of everyone.
Tesla is a great case of this. In 2014, the company removed its patents to its technology with the aim of making electric transportation accessible for everyone. So if you’ve got enough cash and want to make your own electric vehicles for the greater good, then Tesla’s fine with that.
The food we eat, as tasty as it may be, isn’t always the best for the world we live in. Livestock as an industry is a devastating drain on natural resources, a big deforestation culprit and registers high on emissions. Many of us have already made the switch to a more plant-based food intake and lifestyle, but labs are making speedy inroads in creating lab meats and fish substitutes that don’t come at such a high environmental cost. Many believe that this sort of ‘farming’ is the future of food.
Apps like Milkywire are making it easier and faster to support the work of amazing charities on the front line that are working to stop climate change. A clear benefit of digital development is that it brings speed where speed is needed. And, where our planet is concerned, speed is definitely a good thing. Download the app, make a pledge and then see it go straight to work.
Our world needs a variety of different approaches to help heal its wounds, from the work of grassroots charities to big corporations and governments, climate scientists and more. And we can do it as long as we’re pulling together. Tech is another massively important part of the systems needed to solve the problems we face, and it’s clear that there’s more to come from our friends in tech land.