Ignore what climate change deniers have to say, about the impact of overpopulation and industrialization on the global warming; the scientific evidence is virtually impossible to dispute. Greenhouse gases, which are responsible for elevating average temperatures around the world, are the result of over one-hundred years of global industry, and reliance on fossil fuel.
In order for us to preserve the environment, and work to help heal the damage caused to our atmosphere and water, industry must first shift to cleaner processes. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), air toxin emissions declined by more than 60%, from 1990 to 2011; proof that green energy and global awareness can have a measurable impact.
Despite some progress, China contributed a net growth of 58% per year, in air pollution and emissions. The United States is the second highest source of air pollution, accountable for 20% increase in global carbon monoxide. As more land is diverted to industrial production and urban sprawl, the planet’s ability to filter greenhouse gases (through trees and vegetation), is declining rapidly.
Positive changes are happening around the world, however. We found 7 clean energy projects that inspire real change, and benefit the environment, led by organizations that have prioritized efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, and grow exponentially, without contributing to global warming.
1. Pavegen Kinetic Energy Tiles
Fossil fuel emissions accounted for 91% of total carbon monoxide (greenhouse gas) contributions from human and industrial sources, in 2014. The majority of greenhouse gas (aside from motor vehicle emissions) is created through mining and fuel refinement, to supply energy needs for growing urban centers.
In large pedestrian cities, subway, train and bus stations and shopping malls, foot traffic may be able to supply local clean energy resources. The Pavegen Kinetic Energy Tiles can be installed in high-traffic areas, and convert every footstep on the tile, into clean energy, using electromagnetic induction.
The downward force of individuals who walk on the tiles, is captured using a kinetic energy recovery system, which can generate electricity that flows back into the local power grid. And unlike wind turbines and solar panels, the tiles do not consume fossil fuels or external power sources, to generate electricity. A positive and green step forward!
2. Tesla Solar Roof
Solar energy represents the greatest potential for both consumer, and industrial energy production needs. The United States is among the leading countries in the world for solar generation, in states like Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. At the residential consumer level, where there is increasing demand for power generation, solar technology faces two obstacles; solar panels are unsightly, and the technology is expensive for the average home owner.
Innovators at Tesla have solved both problems, and a new product called the Tesla Solar Roof is in distribution. Designed to look exactly like roofing shingles or terracotta tiles, each tile is capable of generating energy for the home. The tiles are made from tempered glass, and are guaranteed for the lifetime of the home, with free replacement. One of the great benefits of the solar tiles, is that homeowners can have hybrid energy production within the dwelling, ensuring power even when local community services are down.
3. The Ocean Cleanup
There are large patches in the ocean, that have miles of accumulated plastic debris, thanks to illegal dumping and irresponsible waste management. Ships that lose merchandise cargo of consumer goods, are also responsible for millions of items of clothing, shoes, plastic novelties and other debris, that ends up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, according to National Geographic. There are also similar ‘trash vortexes’ in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and several developing in the North Sea.
Plastic in the ocean is an environmental catastrophy, as wildlife consume the plastic (mistaking it for food) and die. Areas that are inundated with plastic refuse are abandoned by marine life, making them dead zones, for international fishing.
The Ocean Cleanup is an environmentally friendly, non-invasive project that plans to reduce the amount of floating plastic refuse in all oceans, by fifty percent, in the next 5-10 years. Working with gravity, the floating device captures surface plastics and garbage, and funnels it into a waste storage area that can be collected. Fish and wildlife are not obstructed by the Ocean Cleanup, and are able to pass safely underneath it.
4. MOF Technology That May Solve Safe Drinking Water Shortages
Access to clean freshwater for drinking, is a luxury in many parts of the world. Drought riddled regions are often faced with the rising costs of transporting fresh water to communities over vast distances, or the option of desalination of saltwater; both expensive and impractical for some of the planet’s most impoverished regions.
A new solar powered device has been invented to generate freshwater, literally, out of thin air. The device collects moisture from environments that have as little as 20% relative humidity, consistent with average levels in most arid deserts. Developed by researchers from the University of California (Berkeley) and MIT, the initial prototypes could convert 2.8 liters of fresh water in a 12-hour period.
The metal organic framework (MOF) uses metal ions clustered into two or three-dimensional structures or stacks. The polymers are porous, and able to absorb and then collect the water, into an adjacent reservoir. No wells, no need to drill for water or purchase and transport bottled freshwater; several devices can be installed in a community, to provide a consistent and eco-friendly source of drinking water.
Consumers and businesses who are looking for ways to design more eco-friendly practices, can find valuable resources at DoSomething.org. This international online community provides ideas that both raise awareness for environmental protection, and empower individuals and corporations to commence green energy initiatives. Individuals and corporations can also support many new environmental initiatives in the startup phase, by contributing to fundraising and crowdfunding initiatives.
When citizens and corporations work together, we can shift to sustainable practices with green alternatives, and create a healthy future for the planet, protect wildlife and natural resources, and leave an ecologically responsible model for generations to come.