Let’s face it. The time window to avoid run-away climate change is getting smaller by the day. It is now generally recognized the world’s greenhouse gas emissions need to peak by 2020 if we want to have a reasonable chance of limiting global warming by 2 degrees Celsius at the end of this century (this is the promise of the Paris Agreement). For some, the urgency has not yet sunk in. To others, it seems we are already too late to avoid a global catastrophy. Although I think the scientific evidence is showing that we signed up for some pretty nasty stuff already, I remain hopeful that we can avert the worst. In the infographic below, I listed 5 megatrends that show we are moving in the right direction – we just should go even faster. It’s inspired by a great article that appeared in the Guardian at the start of COP23, you can find it here.
SION, a power station on wheels
Over the last few years, people have asked me several times why electric car manufacturers aren’t putting solar panels on their cars to charge the battery. It sounds like a logical thing to do, isn’t it? I always argued there might be two good reasons for car builders to shy away from this idea. First of all the surface area for solar cells on a car is limited and their orientation not ideal, hence a low energy production could be expected. Secondly, solar panels are not cheap. Pardon me, they were not cheap. Nowadays they are. And hence… things have changed lately.
The Seabin: vacuum cleaner for the oceans
I am currently enjoying my holidays in Estepona in the South of Spain. Besides an appealing beach and promenade, this picturesque town on the Mediterranean coast is home to a sports and fishing port. It all looks Instagram-proof, but upon closer inspection, one cannot neglect the amounts of trash floating in the harbor. At the pier, a seagull on the hunt for food tries to crack open a beer can washed ashore. Spots of oil form a thin layer on the water here and there. Not a pretty sight.
Estepona is not alone, around the world marinas have to deal with litter for which humans are to blame. They are the symptom of a much larger problem that most of us never get to see: the pollution of our planet’s oceans on a massive scale. Luckily, two Australian surfers have come to rescue. The result is the Seabin, an invention that holds the middle between a waste bin and vacuum cleaner. But for the oceans, mind you.
Royal Mail goes electric
It looks like they rolled out a Pixar movie, but they are very real: the nine electric vans of the UK’s national mail service that recently hit the London roads. Designed and manufactured by startup car builder Arrival, it is probably the cutest mail van you have ever seen.
FridgeCam opens war on food waste
I know, your kitchen fridge is not the most exciting device in the house. But that’s about to change. The FridgeCam is a little device that turns your fridge into a geeky piece of home tech aimed to slash your food waste in half and help you do groceries smarter. How? By taking selfies, kind of.
Fighting food waste with Fenugreen
Did you know that 25% of all food that is being produced is lost due to spoilage? What a waste! According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, about 795 million people suffer chronic undernourishment globally. That’s one in nine persons. At the same time, agriculture is putting enormous pressure on our planet’s natural resources. Agricultural processes represent about 70% of the world’s fresh water consumption and cause about 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Reasons enough to tackle food waste.