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Small Innovations Fighting Big Climate Change Problems

By Anisha Hassan

· Environment,Innovator Hacks,Social Entrep,Startup

Climate Change is not a new topic in the 21st Century. With the media reminding us of the irreversible damages humans are continuously causing the environment, things are clearly not getting any better. While we may not live to see the awful and dire consequences that our mindless actions will leave, our future generations surely will live to suffer and witness a harsh and cruel world they do not deserve. Reversing these massive scale problems is no easy feat, but with a worldwide community comprising of a diverse selection of innovators, positive change is very possible.

1. Painting with Pollution with Air Ink

The world is evolving at a rapid pace which new technologies and machinery everywhere. While these developments are a good thing, the sources of energy of most of these technologies are not. Burning fossil fuels still remains as one of the largest causes of harmful byproducts like soot. This black element eventually ends up in the air people breathe and the water they drink.

It might be impossible to suddenly stop development and switch energy sources to prevent the production of soot, but putting them to good use elsewhere is a good starting point according to Graviky Labs.

Graviky Labs came out with Air Ink, a brand of ink created from the waste and byproducts of incomplete combustion-soot. They start by extracting pollutants from cars and industrial waste, followed by numerous steps which turn the pollutants into a form of ink. The final stage involves creating different sorts of inks and paints with the carbon which can later be used as an alternate to regular ink.

2. Piñatex, an Alternate and Sustainable Leather Brand

The fashion industry has always been a big contributor to climate change with its massive quantities of carbon footprints. In an effort to reduce their environmental impact, a lot of brands have opted to shift to materials like leather instead of nylon. However, leather production still releases considerable amounts of methane which can largely damage our climate.

Carmen Hijosa is a Spanish leather manufacturer who primarily visited the Philippines in order to develop the leather industry, but instead ended up establishing a company that makes leather out of pineapple leaves – Piñatex.

Plant leather is more sustainable as it is natural, produces less waste, and performed just like regular leather. It could be used as a leather alternative without the carbon footprints, the dangerous chemicals, or the cyanide-based dyes.

3. Turning Waste to Fuel using HomeBio Gas 2.0

For ages, burning biomass has been one of the biggest sources of cooking fuel because of its ease of use and accessibility. However, burning these fuels also leave behind emissions of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, and many other gases that contribute to climate change. Alternative methods available include the use of electric stoves, but these too go back to producing electricity from combusting fossil fuels.

HomeBiogas 2.0 fights these problems by creating a system that takes food scraps to produce cooking gas that connects directly to a stove. The system can also convert food scraps to fertilizers that can be beneficial to the soil. The whole system is small enough to be kept at home making it very practical for everyday use. With the alarming rate at which fossil fuels are decreasing, it is solutions like these that will help people survive in the future.

4. Artificial Glaciers to the Rescue

One of the biggest and most vivid effects of global warming is that of icebergs melting and sea levels rising. The Himalayas are no exception to the change and have seen considerable damages as well. The decreasing glaciers at the area led to a lack of water for irrigation in the spring time.

Chewang Norphel, a retired engineer in the area, thought about artificial glaciers that could possibly reduce the problem of water shortage. With the help of villagers in the area they created irrigation canals along with a reservoir. In the winter the water would freeze and create what they now call an artificial glacier. At half a mile long and 150 feet width, canals may not be large in comparison to a real glacier, but it is a cheap way to trap water. As spring arrives these glaciers melt and the water can be used by farmers without hassle. Norphel and his team is working on improving the models and using it in other villages.

5. Reversing Deforestation with Nucleário

Forests are sometimes referred to as ‘lungs of the earth’ for they can absorb massive amounts of carbon dioxide like no other technology or machine. As global warming increases, these forests remain a good hope in countering greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, the rate of deforestation says otherwise.

One of the biggest challenges of forests are that they are high maintenance. Young plants need a lot of care to be able to grow properly, but it becomes a physical barrier to go and check up on these young plants on mountains and other elevated areas. Degraded soil, surrounding weeds, and insects are some of the other problems facing these young forests.

With the aim of “minimum maintenance and maximum efficiency” Nucleário was created. This circular model serves as a planting system designed specifically to serve young plants in their first three years when they need the most protection. The outermost layer provides weed competition control by creating an area of moisture to prevent the soil from leaching. The next layer provides a barrier against leaf-cutting ants. This also reduces the need for insecticides. The final top layer accumulates rain water and periodically releases them at dryer weather conditions. Nucleário is made of biodegradable materials which means after it is done helping the plant grow, it will decompose into the soil leaving no residue or carbon footprint.

Every person has a different point of vie, which is what brings so much diversity and uniqueness to the table. So bring your ideas forward, highlight it, and practice it, so you too can come up with insane climate changing inventions and have your ideas create a difference.

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