We constantly see mountains of discarded plastics, unwanted laptops, and cracked televisions. So, it’s not without merit that technology is considered humanity’s largest waste product. But in truth, our innovations in tech have begun opening gateways to combat climate change.
From harnessing renewable sources of energy to reacting against wastefulness, technology is improving the way we interact with our environment. Even the most unlikely global industries are savvy about doing things the green way.
However, as with anything, the status quo often needs a push in the right direction. Change is slow and always has been. There is a long road ahead before reaching the ultimate goal: carbon neutrality. Thankfully there is plenty of accessible technology — internet, phones, computers — available so we can do our bit to help too.
Read on to discover how industries are using technology to reduce carbon emissions, and the ways you can see them along.
Consumer interest in petrol cars has wavered over recent years; the transport industry is moving quickly to develop new technologies and adapt to trends. With sustainability in vogue, there are no prizes for guessing why you haven’t seen a Hummer in the best part of a decade: the 4X4 is as prehistoric as the fuel it guzzles up. Car manufactures are instead harnessing alternative energy sources to replace fossil fuels.
Look towards Volkswagen as a company that has changed its tune. After the brands’ diesel dupe in 2015, Volkswagen has flipped a full one hundred eighty degrees. Now, it is championing electrical energy through the development of Natursrom by a new group company Elli. Naturstrom is clean, carbon-free electricity created to charge your electric cars from home.
But for those not lucky enough to afford an electric car, you can do your part by riding public transport. In the UK, Bristol Council is working hard to keep your environmental conscience clear. Much of the FirstBus fleet is powered by animal and human waste in an attempt to clean air around the local area. By making sure you take advantage of innovative schemes, you can help clean up the transportation industry without having to spend a fortune on a new car.
Everywhere we look there is some form of protest against urban planning and new build construction. The continuous making of new properties places a persistent burden on the environment. But with an ever-growing global population, profiting on affordable housing is an inevitability few can successfully oppose. One question remains: How will the houses be built?
Technology and science are leading the housing industry along a more sustainable path. Carbon capture or CSS has been touted to not only reduce carbon emissions, but also remove them from the atmosphere. Groups of innovators are looking to commercialize the technology, turning carbon dioxide from a harmful byproduct into building material. So far, viability has only been proven in the lab, but the technology has got us all thinking about an exciting future for the housing industry.
In the meantime, the internet of things has reduced the ripple effect of our own actions. Trusted real estate services are heading online. And while you may find comfort in brick and mortar banks or housing societies, every piece of paper you sign and transaction you complete produces its own carbon footprint.
Sorting everything out online using web-based advisors like the mortgage broker Breezeful encourages you and the industry to go paperless. Everything is conducted online, mitigating the need for carbon-intensive products such as paper.
Reducing paper usage is an important step in fighting climate change. It takes hundreds of gallons of oil just to make one ton of paper. So, handling business online is one of the biggest steps we can take now.
The fashion industry has built its success off the back of popular trends. Why then has it taken so long to get on board with reducing carbon emissions?
The answer: Because fast fashion burns through waste like no tomorrow. Mass consumption has trapped the industry in a vicious circle, with demand for clothes outpacing brands' ability to make lasting changes. When production cannot be slowed down, the ingredients have to change. A great deal of effort is being made into creating sustainable textiles.
H&M is pioneering a new future for fast fashion, committing to environmentally friendly man-made materials. The fashion giant is exploring the consistent use of artificial cellulosic fibers. Although it may sound full of chemicals, MMC is made from the pulp in tree fibers. And to help combat inevitable deforestation issues, they will only use FSC certified forests by 2025.
Better yet, another group of innovators is making real progress bioengineering material out of living organisms. Perhaps there is a way to reduce the fashion industry’s negative impact on the environment after all.
Although tech is merely helping the industry clean up after itself quicker, you can pull your own weight by reusing clothes and browsing charity shops. Recycling by keeping garments off the rubbish pile eases retailers’ need to produce new stuff.
Global industry — through technology — has shown it’s willing to change to the green side as long as it can prove the economic viability. You have read just a few innovative ways of how consumers and industry alike can reduce their carbon footprint. And as technology advances, so will people’s ability to adapt even further.
Written by Laura May
About the Author
Laura May is Digital Editor at Just Another Magazine. We write about beauty, fashion, lifestyle, relationships, travel, trends and anything else that matters to you. Name throwing you off? Don’t take it too seriously – we intend to stand out from the crowd.
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