16 February 2017
Tuned into the climate movement? Then you already know about the urgent need to switch from fossil fuels that have caused climate change to clean, renewable energy sources.
Australia and New Zealand are no exceptions. From the Great Barrier Reef to the Queensland Wet Tropics and New Zealand’s own clean green image, extreme temperatures and above average snowfalls indicate now’s the time to act.
Oil, Oil, Everywhere
Oil— the most energy dense fuel yet—is involved in nearly everything we buy and consume – including the plastics and composites in everyday products. It’s used to manufacture, fabricate, grow or transport pretty much anything we come into contact with.
So how do we take a different approach? It starts with looking at the way we do things in an oil economy, then flipping it upside down.
Cradle To Cradle, Not Cradle To Grave
Cradle-to-cradle thinking is a type of design that respects the material inputs used in manufacturing by producing products that aren’t disposed of, but rather “upcycled” for further use.
Cradle-to-cradle design also proposes business models where we don’t “own” a product; we “rent” it, and then return it to the manufacturer who will take it apart into the essential ingredients for re-use. We’re already seeing this form of thinking pop up in other industries as the “sharing economy.” Uber anyone?
A Better Future From Past Mistakes
China is already feeling the weight of over-development, and rapidly implementing solutions. With over 40% of households still without electricity, India is the next frontier of urbanisation and modernization and they’re making grand plans with their groundbreaking solar development plans worth a cool US$20 billion.
What action are we seeing on this side of the world? Australia’s aiming to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 and New Zealand aims to reach a target of 90% renewable energy sources by 2025. But when it comes to the environment, there’s always room for improvement.