6 Cool Transformational Tech Tackling Climate Change

Supriya Sivabalan
Giant Solar Panel (Source: Unsplash

Before we dive in, let’s get the technicals out of the way. We’ve all heard of it but what exactly is climate change? Simply put, climate change is a long-term shift in the Earth’s temperature and weather patterns which eventually causes a domino effect toward all living creatures alike. While this shift may occur naturally, it has been proven that human activities, especially those that involve the burning of fossil fuels, have significantly contributed to the world’s detriment. 

Sadly, the damage has been done and we’re seeing effects of climate change day-in, day-out. Fret not though, all is not lost! Many have stepped-up to tackle this issue and are taking accountability for all of mankind. There are lots of cool transformational tech emerging to combat the adversity of climate change and help clean-up our home. 

1. World Bee Project 

Our bee friends (Source: Unsplash

Bees make life sweeter, literally. Besides producing tantalizing, golden honey, these adorable creatures play a vital role in preserving the world’s ecosystem as they pollinate food crops to provide the necessary nutrients for plants to thrive. In other words, bees help plants and plants help us. 

Climate change has sadly disrupted the habitats of our bee friends, but The World Bee Project looks to curate a solution by incorporating the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) to study these bees, understand what they do and learn how they do it. With data collected from research, the project aims to create more sustainable ecosystems and improve pollinator habitats. It’s an impressive global initiative that looks toward making Earth a safer place for our bees. 

2. Solar Farms

Utilizing the Sun’s energy (Source: Unsplash)

Did you know that solar power is now the cheapest source of electricity in history? According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), solar power is one of the fastest growing renewable energy and inevitably holds the potential to assist in climate action. Currently, there exist solar farms in certain parts of our globe which are able to serve as an adequate energy source, consequently reducing the consumption of non-renewable energy. 

Swiss Alps: A cold, snowy mountainous imagery popped in your mind, didn’t it? Despite this being the reality of the weather conditions in Switzerland, the world’s highest floating solar farm exists here! Using the reflective ability of sunlight against all the snow and ice, this solar farm produces solar radiation akin to a desert and can power up to 220 homes as of today. In 2022, this farm aims to cater for the consumption of 6,100 homes, a whopping ~3000% increase. 

Canada: Serving a remote community of 300 people in the hilly Yukon territory, 2,000 solar panels provide electricity and assist in the optimization of long daylight hours of the Arctic summer sun. Once fully in-force, this solar farm is predicted to cut 140 cars worth of greenhouse gas emissions. 

India: There is no land available in such a densely populated country. The solution? Build solar panels atop irrigation canals! India has approximately 120 major canal systems that are perfect to mount solar panels to bring electricity to rural areas. Truly innovation at its finest.

3. Smart Cities

A visualization of smart cities (Source: Getty Images)

Smart cities are a straightforward concept: Use technology to improve quality of life and bridge the gap of urbanization for all citizens. Singapore has been dubbed the smartest city in the world out of 109 global cities for 3 years consecutively, reports The Straits Times. Here are some notable highlights that help both its people and the Earth: 

  • Remote monitoring devices and digital service platforms for healthcare facilities 
  • 500,000+ police surveillance cameras and web-based police portals
  • Efficient and sustainable transit networks via reliable public transport systems
  • Stationless shared bicycles and electric car-pooling services
  • National digital identity portal (SingPass)
  • Integrated and interoperable e-payment (PayNow)
  • Integration of all governmental services on a single platform (Moments of Life)

By providing such convenience, there are bound to be less cars on the road which definitely helps in tackling climate change. 

4. Ocean Cleanup Interceptors

Interceptors lending us a helping hand to clean our oceans (Source: The Ocean Cleanup)

These cool, Transformers-like contraptions by The Ocean Cleanup were designed to help efficiently clean the trash that pollutes our oceans and rivers. Since 2019, interceptors have been assisting Malaysia in the clean-up of the Klang River in collaboration between The Ocean Cleanup and the Selangor state government. These cool machines contributed to the 67,000 tons of debris that was collected from the river over 4 years. To put things into perspective, that equals to trash that weighs up to 13,500 adult Asian elephants! These interceptors are able to effortlessly pick up trash that would require the manpower of hundreds of diligent individuals. It’s a definite game-changer!

5. Climeworks

Capturing carbon dioxide from air (Source: Climeworks)

Founded by 2 passionate individuals who vowed to do all they can to tackle climate change, Climeworks is a leader in direct air capture (DAC) technology, where they essentially capture carbon dioxide directly from the air in a permanent, measurable, efficient and safe manner. The work that is being done is very necessary to reverse climate change as emission reductions, especially carbon dioxide removal, is required to ensure global warming is kept at a sustainable temperature. Climeworks captures CO2 in pure form, thus allowing the collected gas to be repurposed into renewable, carbon-neutral fuels and materials. Climeworks is in it for the long-haul and aims to play a significant role in achieving the goal of removing 5 billion tons of CO2 from the air annually by 2050 to help regulate Earth’s temperature to 1.5 °C. 

6. Lab-grown foods

Meat made from plants! (Source: CNBC)

Meat consumption is responsible for releasing greenhouse gasses that are similar to the amount of gasses that would be emitted by driving a car or flying a plane. It’s a lot. However, it is popularly known that start-ups like Impossible Foods are curating plant-based meat in labs in an attempt to provide a meat alternative, hoping to ultimately reduce the climate impact of meat. This is done by taking a common protein shared between plants and animals called the heme and growing it in a lab to produce “meat” from plants. 

Another rather new but equally as cool initiative is the production of food from water! Sounds insane, but it’s currently being done by Solar Foods. They’ve successfully produced flour using the hydrogen extracted from water, the bacteria from soil and have even made an edible pancake! Although this miracle flour is not licensed for sale (yet), it is hoped to be a suitable replacement in lots of food. After all, flour is a staple in many food recipes. This flour is said to be easily modified to mimic dairy products, and can even be manipulated into a lab-grown fish!

This would undoubtedly help in reducing the environmental impact of many foods around us. 

This is just the beginning. There may be an invention or innovation right around the corner that could bring a paradigm shift to climate action today. Join us at the YSEALI Summit 2022 to learn more and be a part of positive change! 

Supriya Sivabalan

Supriya is an actuarial science student and a budding content writer at heart, sowing the seeds of copious alluring and magnetic narratives to tell memorable stories.