The climate crisis is everywhere, but so are initiatives to cope with it and counter it. Here are just a few of my favorites.
By Sue Landau
The climate crisis is everywhere now, but so are initiatives to cope with it and counter it. That is perhaps the biggest positive change since the 2015 Paris Climate Accord.
You can see this just by watching television or Internet news, reading the most informative newspapers or keeping an eye on your Facebook newsfeed.
Here is my brief selection from this summer:
• French start-up Sun’Agro is experimenting with combining solar power with the needs of farming in the age of global warming. Its panels generate electricity while sheltering plants from too much sun. It has installed solar panels on a vineyard in south-west France, which protected the vines during two successive heatwaves this summer.
• Another French start-up, Carbios, is developing a novel process using enzymes to break down complex plastics, making them theoretically infinitely recyclable. It has some weighty backers to help it scale up the process. If this works on an industrial scale, there would ultimately be no demand for new plastic made from crude oil, and plastic would cease to be a waste product clogging up rivers and oceans.
• Sandra Pascoe Ortiz, a professor at the University of Valle de Atemajac in Mexico, has developed a bio-plastic using the juice of the prickly pear cactus. It breaks down into non-toxic by-products in just days in water and a month in soil, and requires no petroleum products. Now she is looking at ways to make it industrially.
• In Grande-Sythe near Dunkirk, one of France’s poorest towns, a Green Party mayor is building a model for working class communities to turn ecological. Damien Carême has brought in free, clean public transport, low energy housing and lighting, and community gardens for growing organic food.
• On a larger scale, in July the G20 group of the top industrial countries were given a report on hydrogen as a potential clean alternative fuel and industrial feedstock, taking what is still embryonic technology into the nerve center of our industrial world.