Can Technology Help Us Fight Climate Change? The world's most pressing environmental issues are of our own making, so it's up to us to find ways to solve them.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Climate change is undeniably real. Largely caused by human activity, it has resulted in disastrous weather events, threatened the survival of animal species across the globe and put human lives at risk. That's why it's never been more important for people to do their part to protect the planet.
How we are fighting climate change today
The problem, however, is that it's hard to know what exactly constitutes our part in the fight against climate change. We can bring reusable shopping bags when we go grocery shopping or unplug unnecessary devices when we leave home for work, but how much are these actions doing towards solving the issue?
The answer: not enough — at least when you compare them to technological advancements and innovations. While companies such as Tesla have already started disrupting the transportation industry by introducing electric cars, there are other fields of technology where progress has been slow, at best. For example, renewable-energy sources continue to take a backseat to fossil fuels, which means while electric vehicles help reduce our dependence on gasoline, the rest of the world is still burning a lot of coal and oil to power their homes.
That's why we need more entrepreneurs working on innovative solutions that will allow us to shift our economy towards renewable-energy sources so that they can replace fossil fuels in all aspects of our day-to-day lives, from transportation to heating and cooking.
How we can be part of this change
Aside from grabbing a reusable water bottle or turning off the lights when you leave a room, there aren't many simple actions we can take to reduce our impact on the environment. But that doesn't mean there isn't anything we can do.
In fact, technology plays an integral role in fighting climate change. With ecommerce and online shopping taking over the world, it's important to make sure this new trend doesn't negatively affect the planet — and that's where green technology comes in.
The carbon footprint of delivery trucks and more have become a major concern for environmentalists who are concerned about climate change, which is why companies such as Amazon have clamped down on ecommerce giant eBay by banning its users from selling items using their service. However, other than banning sellers, there aren't many things ecommerce sites can do to offset the environmental impact of products shipped through them.
The solution? Green technology
Green technology is a broad term that encompasses many different solutions to a wide range of environmental problems. While each one can significantly affect the environment, not all of them are created equal.
There are plenty of ways to make a difference, ranging from increasing the recycling rate in your community and planting trees to cutting back on the use of plastics and flying less. But as a growing number of organizations launch initiatives aiming to reduce climate change through technological advances, it's clear that technology can be an invaluable tool for helping humanity combat this global crisis.
We may not be able to see the effects of climate change right away, but that doesn't mean we can't do our part in fighting it. In fact, while we wait for more research to be conducted and new ways to reduce our impact on this planet are found, there are a few things you can start doing today, such as switching from paper towels to reusable cloth ones or using an electric razor instead of shaving with disposable razors.
But while you're waiting for companies to introduce new ways of reducing your carbon footprint, there are also a few things you can do with existing technology that will help the environment. The rising popularity of ecommerce during the lockdown has led to increased emissions from delivery trucks and increased waste.
Have you ever wondered why so many of the websites you visit tell you to "Go Green"? And how do they know your shopping habits? It turns out it's because going online harms our environment. Every time someone decides to buy something from their favorite retailer online, instead of visiting in person, they're responsible for producing more carbon emissions and waste than if they just walked into the store themselves.
But what if there was a way to offset all that pollution by planting trees? That's exactly what the startup Verdoo does! The concept behind this innovative new startup is pretty simple: When you make any type of online purchase on your device, a small percentage goes toward planting new trees in areas affected by deforestation. It's a win-win situation, and because trees are proven to absorb the carbon emissions produced from the delivery trucks that ship products across the country and into your home, it doesn't hurt the environment, but actually helps heal it.
Just how much of an impact does green-tech have on the planet?
Thanks to these new initiatives, we may soon realize that we really don't need a brick-and-mortar store in every town. In fact, with more companies getting creative about their approaches toward environmental friendliness, their contributions could make a difference to the health of our planet.
But how much are these efforts really worth? Some may say this is our generation's Apollo program; while that might be true, there is also no doubt that these initiatives will take a long time to impact the health of our planet.
Some organizations, for example, are working with large companies and governments to fix problems like ocean pollution caused by plastics. Others are trying to improve recycling rates, both from consumers and companies. Another initiative aims to make buildings more environmentally friendly by using energy more efficiently. But the reality is that just a handful of companies are creating these green-tech solutions.
Do you want to know what we can all do? It's as simple as changing our habits. If we changed two daily habits, think about how much greenhouse-gas emissions would be prevented.
Today's most pressing environmental issues are of our own making, so it's up to us to find ways to solve them. By inventing practices, technologies and businesses that can reduce pollution and other negative impacts on the environment, we can work together to save the world.
At the end of the day, technology holds the key to the future of our planet, and the more entrepreneurs we have working on new solutions to help us reduce our carbon footprint, the better.