In a report released by the United Nations Climate Change research team last April, scientists urged governments to reassess their energy policies in order to address climate change (United Nations Climate Change, 2022). The report warns that the matter of addressing climate change and reversing its effects is now a matter of “now or never.”
Government policies and global efforts such as the historic Paris Agreement that was adopted in 2015 to establish a collective climate action (United Nations Climate Change, n.d.) are only one part of the equation to solving and reversing the effects of climate change. Another aspect that we can look at in attaining a sustainable future are innovations made by ingenious humans.
The Ocean Cleanup
The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit, environmental organization that aims to clean up 90% of plastic debris in the ocean by 2040 (The Ocean Cleanup, n.d.). The way that the organization does this is by collecting the garbage in the ocean while at the same time intercepting garbage from riverways. The main innovation comes in the form of a 62-mile long V-shaped barrier that aims to trap the plastic floating in the ocean designed to work with the ocean currents (Nicholson, 2021).
ENDURING Sand Energy Storage
ENDURING is a mechanism spearheaded by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the United States. It is a technology that stores renewable energy into thermal energy in silica sand for later on-demand use (National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 2021). This is important as the main problem with renewable energy is that it is intermittent–it depends on when the sun is out, or when water flow is strong.
WORLDCENTRIC Biodegradable Plastic
WORLDCENTRIC is just one of the many companies that provide compostable plastic and packaging (Ways to Take Action, n.d.). These kitchenware products are compostable within 180 days, a huge improvement from the current plastic items that we use which takes centuries if not millenia to fully break down and decompose. The production of these products also produce little to no carbon footprint as they are made with sustainable plants such as bamboo.
PhotoSynthetica Algae-Based Cladding System
PhotoSynthetica is an algae-based cladding system in which ETFE panels with algae microbes are added to the sides of buildings in order to absorb a city’s heat and carbon dioxide emissions (PhotoSynthetica, n.d.) The absorbed carbon dioxide and heat feeds the algae until it turns into algal biomass, which can then be processed into useful materials such as biofuel for renewable energy. This is an excellent way of incorporating the biology of algae into the construction of our cities.
Anzene Battery Pack
Anzene battery pack is an innovation that aims to establish a more sustainable energy market and reduce our reliance to nonrenewable energy. It is a modular and portable battery pack that can power your electric vehicles or consumer electronics such as your smartphone or your laptop. It allows individuals to participate in addressing climate change as they become either prosumers who produce renewable energy that powers up the battery pack or consumers who use the energy used by others.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory. (2021, August 30). NREL Options a Modular,
Cost-Effective, Build-Anywhere Particle Thermal Energy Storage Technology. NREL. https://www.nrel.gov/news/program/2021/nrel-options-a-modular-cost-effective-build-anywhere-particle-thermal-energy-storage-technology.html
Nicholson, K. (2021, November 2). 8 Otherworldly Inventions Which Could Save Us
From Climate Change. HuffPost UK. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/cop26-inventions-save-planet-climate-crisis_uk_615ee63be4b084c8241186eb
United Nations Climate Change. (n.d.). The paris Agreement.
United Nations Climate Change. (2022, May 18). UN climate report: It’s ‘now or never’
to limit global warming to 1.5. UN News. https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/04/1115452
Ways to Take Action. (n.d.). World Centric.