World News is Heating Up – But Not in The Good Way.
Entrepreneurs, High Technology, Innovation, Opinions, Technology Posted Sep 27, 2019 by Gabrielle Kondracki
If you’ve been following the news at all, you will have seen that this past week was Climate Week in NYC. Among summits, debates, conferences, and panels, were a lot of scary scientific research that has even the biggest of skeptics shaking in their boots. Recent studies revealed what scientists have been worried about for decades: sea levels are rising (putting all of our coastal cities at risk of extreme flooding – including NYC), the ocean’s absorption of 90% of the earth’s heating is putting ecosystems at risk, there is a desperate need for us to cut out fossil fuels, and it is of extreme importance to stop a 1.5-degree Celsius increase in the global temperature. So, now I’m left wondering, what can we do?
With all our advancements we’ve seen in technology over the past decade, there must be something we can design to help combat the rise in global temperature. Hoping for the best, I took to the web to see if I could find any climate justice innovation cropping up. It was then that I saw some hope (no matter how small) for our future. In an Inc. article titled, 10 Startups Working to Fix Climate Change With Technology, it was as if all my prayers were being answered.
It seems that the “green” typically associated with entrepreneurs is adding a whole new meaning. That’s right – I’m not talking about the color of money in their eyes, I’m talking about the color of our planet, and what it will take to restore it. While tech companies are working to combat climate change, they are only part of the solution. We still need to do our part by eliminating waste and our carbon footprints. We won’t see the change the Earth needs just through these startups, so it also falls in our hands to help. However, it’s a step in the right direction and it encourages hope – and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.
So, what are these companies and what are they projected to do in efforts to reverse climate catastrophe? Take a look at just a few of them:
- Carbon Engineering – The company focuses on commercializing two clean energy technologies that can rapidly accelerate the world’s shift to net-zero: removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and significantly reducing the carbon footprints of transportation. They work to create clean synthetic fuels made from air, water and renewable power.
- ClimeWorks – like Carbon Engineering, this startup focuses on capturing atmospheric carbon with a filter that chemically bounds carbon and releases carbon-free air back into the atmosphere. As for the carbon left behind on the filter that captured it? It’s heated to 100-degrees Celsius and turned into a concentrated form (like a stone) to be collected. Pretty neat!
- Newlight – This startup spent over 10 years learning about how the use of microorganisms found in the ocean can turn greenhouse gas into air carbon – a biodegradable, biocompatible energy material made in all living things that can be melted and forged into fibers and solid parts. Now, the company takes those solid parts and turns them into consumer products, from fashion and furniture to artificial skin to speed healing times and more.
- Ocean-based Climate Solutions, Inc. – This company created a technology known as Oxygenator which uses wave energy to produce upwelling of nutrient-enriched seawater from 200 meters deep. This promotes growth of phytoplankton and then sends particulate organic carbon as well as dissolved organic carbon contained in the upper ocean down 400 meters where it is out of contact with the atmosphere for decades.
- Project Vesta – Project Vesta is turning beaches green. Yup, literally green. Olivine rocks (which are green in color) have a counteracting effect on carbon, and by spreading olivine in the world’s 2% most energic shelf seas can compensate a year’s global carbon emissions and counteract ocean acidification.
This might just be the start, but it’s an optimistic start. Using technology, machine learning and artificial intelligence for good is something that we can all be proud of, and after this week’s coverage of Climate Week, I’d say these startups are companies we should be paying more attention to. Whether you’ve been a climate activist for years or if you’re just starting to dip your toes into researching the topic, there’s never a bad time to start!
One newsletter I’ve come to love is HEATED, a daily newsletter dedicated to original accountability reporting and analysis on the climate crisis. The newsletter is run by Emily Wayne, a journalist who has dedicated her career to climate change coverage, and who has been seen on MSNBC, CSPAN and NPR, among others. It covers the most topical news related to climate change and it comes directly to your mailbox – easy peasy! Check it out.