Can Technology help battle Climate Change?

Jeffery Obiagwu, Contributing Writer

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Technology! It’s the most popular thing in the world. It is also the most influential or disastrous invention we have ever created. Jonathan Sacks, a philosopher and scholar of Judaism, once pointed out that, “Technology gives us power, but it does not and cannot tell us how to use that power. Thanks to technology, we can instantly communicate across the world, but it still doesn’t help us know what to say.” Well, he was right when he said technology has given us power; power to destroy Mother Nature. More than 50% of greenhouse gas emissions are all caused by the technology we invented and what procedures are we following to reduce it? Nothing much. With the resources and ideas I gathered, I have concluded that we can reduce our emissions by using Solar energy collector or windmills to generate electricity for our homes, using electricity, solar energy, and rechargeable batteries for transportation, creating feed nutrients that would reduce methane for dairy cows by 30 percent, capturing Carbon and either storing them underground or using them to make other products, starting artificial production of renewable energy, inventing technology that is fueled by nuclear waste, being efficient, using social media to spread awareness.

Firstly, by using Solar energy collector or windmills to generate electricity for our homes. Although, almost 67% of our electricity globally are being produced by fossil fuels, the rest are generated by renewable energy. This means that we have a chance in changing our drastic use of fossil fuels. Lucy Jones quoted Bill McKibben, a campaigner and author of “The End of Nature”, saying that “the price of a solar panel dropped 75 per cent in the last six years.” Solar panels have been made cheap for everyone and still, few people use it their homes. Governments, organizations, and people should encourage homes to switch their source of energy to renewable energy. Some innovative companies are already working on other alternative power options that would reduce C02 emissions to almost zero.

Secondly, by using electricity, solar energy, and rechargeable batteries for transportation. The growth in Technology and Economic market of the Electric and solar cars are improving day by day which then begs the question, when are they going to be released on a mass scale? Although it has been estimated to be available in 2020, its still far ahead. Electric and solar cars are going to make a huge change in C02 emission, reducing it tremendously. If you’re still questioning what I’m saying, look at it from this perspective; there are more than 1.2 billion cars emitting more than 1 billion tons of C02 each year. If we replace those 1.2 billion cars with electric or solar cars, there will be no C02 emissions coming from vehicles because it’s clean and renewable energy. Organizations like Tesla have started this program early enough and are giving their research and inventions out to young inventors, encouraging them to start a new era of clean and green energy.

Thirdly, by creating feed nutrients that would reduce methane for dairy cows by 30 percent. Methane isn’t considered one of the most emitted greenhouse gases but they are considered as one of the powerful natural gases in trapping heat. Cows, as cool as their name sounds, are one of the few natural emitters of Methane. In reference to Laura Beil’s article, ruminants are one of the biggest sources of Methane, producing a fascinating 29 percent in just USA. But the good news is, scientists have found a method to reduce methane production from ruminants, especially cows. National Academy of Sciences records in August 25 stated that Researchers had an experiment on 48 cows, giving them synthetic feed supplements that would counter the enzyme that produces Methane. They noticed that the cows they tested reduced their Methane emission by 30% without affecting anything on their body while untested cows produced the normal amount while eating their normal feed. This means that maybe in the future, there would be a supplement to stop the emission totally, not reduce it.

Fourthly, by capturing Carbon and either storing them underground or using them to make other products. This kind of technology is what everyone would call “God’s filter”. Being one of the most talked-about ideas in years all over the energy sector requires a lot of reputation and brilliance. Although this technology hasn’t been invented yet, it is a marvelous idea considering that it would help in purifying our air. The whole perspective of this idea is to create a machine that would capture carbon, convert it to a harmless gas, and then store it underground so it doesn’t enter the atmosphere. There is also an idea called “Carbon Recycling” which basically gives us an idea for a machine that would extract carbon form the atmosphere and convert it to fuel or other products. These ideas are great in reducing greenhouse gases but in contrast, these ideas could be harmful to our environment. Extracting carbon-dioxide from the environment could kill the trees considering that trees breathe carbon-dioxide and give out oxygen.

Fifthly, by starting artificial production of renewable energy. This idea isn’t popularly known because there isn’t sufficient information on how it works so you might not see this kind of solution in the books till after 2020. This idea in Wendy Koch’s article mentioned a scientist, Nocera, that made an artificial leaf that could perform photosynthesis when exposed to tap water and sunlight, creating hydrogen and oxygen bubbles that would be stored and be recombined to create electricity. As amazing as that sounds, the problem is that there are no filling stations that offer Hydrogen fuel so it is either you have your own supply at home or you would go to a hydrogen company for a refill. There are plans to improve this invention on a mass scale but it is not going to be soon because of its costs and availability.

Sixthly, by inventing technology that is fueled by nuclear waste. Nuclear waste is the last thing anyone is expecting because it can kill u instantly if you are exposed to it. But now they have found a use for it after it has been giving the government storage issues. Impossible right? Well, maybe considering this is just an idea. Did u know that nuclear waste doesn’t emit any form of greenhouse gasses? If you didn’t know that, u know now. Wendy Koch mentioned that TerraPower, a test reactor in Bellevue that is partly funded by Bill gates, runs on nuclear waste and has the capability of running non-stop for 40 years without stopping. Having that kind of electricity generator active means that we might have a massive breakthrough in the future when it is used globally. A larger reactor like that, generating 500-megawatts, without any C02 emission is that one step of change the world.

Seventhly, by being efficient. This is an idea that has been around for centuries. Efficiency is the key idea to maintain healthy environment. My environmental teacher once showed me a graph of how our earth had a normal temperature for 400,000 years until our population rose drastically and we entered the technological age. As the population increased, there was more demand and less people cared about how to replace or manage the resources because those resources were abundant until now. The less we cared, the higher our climate temperature increased. Being efficient increases the life of our resources and enables us to prepare our future generation. Being efficient at home could also save you a lot of money being that you are saving up to 90% by using air-tight sealant and durable insulation. You can also install sensors and energy meters to monitor how you use energy. There are also programs like PECO Smart Ideas, PPL’s e-power campaign, FirstEnergy, etc. started by energy companies that enables customers or residents to participate and help reduce energy usage in homes. This includes installation of energy-efficient light bulbs, refrigerators, air conditioners, etc.

Eighthly, by using social media to spread awareness. Thompson Clive, author of “Smarter Than You Think” said that the Internet is a giant connection machine; He was right. Every new company that starts makes a social media account to put the company out there for the world to see and get the exposure it needs. The same thing would also work for climate change, global warming, and other natural and man-made disasters. Social media is the only place that lots of people would see and want to understand it. No one would want to visit the library looking for books about global warming or climate change except if it is their field of study or they

have homework; I know I would not. Although different organizations have tried to spread the message, it stays there without anyone wanting to share it because no one cares. But compared to approaching people, social media has been a great tool in making sure everyone knows. The new movie Leonardo Di Caprio made about climate change was shared and people were all aware, thanks to the help of social media. We should be aware about our environment and try to make sure other people are.

In conclusion, if we are lucky enough to avert the worse effects of climate change, other problems are going to come which we would also have to decide on what to do. I want to round-up this essay answering this question I saw saying “If individual behavioral changes aren’t realistic, or enough, can’t technology provide a route out of the problem? Where is that technology?” Sometimes, we look up to technology for any slight problem we have, forgetting that it cannot help us for so long. We must help ourselves or work with technology to be successful. When we used horses as our main transportation until there was a lot of sanitary problems then cars came along and helped solve the issue. Now we have problems of pollution from the cars that helped us. Technology is going to be way we clean up our air and well as other problems we are going to face in the future.

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Can Technology help battle Climate Change?