Opportunities Beyond Carbon
We promise survival and not much more. That is a failure of vision.
It did not sit in the bestseller lists like Silent Spring did, but in its own way it has had a comparable impact. It was not written by a scientific activist, but by an historian of science, Thomas Kuhn. One of his most piercing insights concerned the motivation for a shift in paradigm. Kuhn observed that when evidence emerged that caused uneasiness about the validity of the established paradigm, the first response of the defenders of orthodoxy was, in fact, to change … but only at the margins.
No matter how uncomfortable things became in relation to the ability of the current paradigm to make sense of the evidence, the discomfort did not cause a change 22 Dr Sam Wells in paradigm. When the shift finally came, it was not away from a failed paradigm, but towards a new paradigm—a new, fundamentally different, and better theoretical framework for making sense of all the evidence.
This, then, may be one part of the secret of our strange paralysis, of our inability to initiate and embrace the changes demanded by our times. We have been so preoccupied with the threats to our present and future wellbeing, so intent on depicting what will happen if we do not act, that we have given ourselves few reasons to act boldly or to make the shift required. We have busied ourselves at the edges of the current paradigm, the current way of thinking, trying desperately to bend and shape it so that it can respond to each symptom of crisis and save us from harm.
Like fearful creatures caught in the headlights of oncoming disaster, we have allowed our vision of the future to be shaped by the future we fear. But Kuhn has more to say about the implications of a shift in paradigm and, therefore, more light to throw on the nature of our paralysis. He points out that, by definition, the new paradigm cannot simply be an elaboration of the old. There is no place for a sense of comfortable evolution in thinking. Any such thinking would reinforce and belong to the old paradigm.
The new paradigm not only represents a clean break from the old. In making that break, it also marks the old paradigm as flawed—not incomplete, but incompatible. How does this help us to understand our current inaction in the face of such compelling global reasons to act? It reflects all the compromises, all the accommodations that we have made in shaping a world based on dis-integrated knowledge—based on our infatuation with the parts, not the whole; with symptoms, not causes; with management, not healing; with What Holds Us Back from the Big Shift?
In other words, when it comes to questions of global sustainability, the vision of what we really want is a vision of wholeness and healing. It is not easy. When it comes to making sense of the established paradigm, we appear to have an unlimited capacity to suspend disbelief. We are preoccupied with the catastrophic consequences of inaction, but seduced by the sense that action comes most readily, most comfortably, from within the old paradigm. So, how to move forward? The answer surely lies in vision, in a vision of newness so nourishing and compelling that it 24 Dr Sam Wells frees us from the comforts of the old thinking and the constraints of mere survival.
And not just an abstract vision, but one that gives concrete expression to the future possibilities, a vision that we can hear and touch and see and taste and smell. Vision is inextricably bound up with leadership, and leadership at all levels in our community carries a responsibility for helping to shape, articulate and demonstrate the vision of possibilities. At the heart of that vision lies a celebration of opportunity, rather than a wallowing in fear.
The way forward—the way of wholeness—abounds in opportunities for living better, fuller, happier, richer lives. But anyone who attended the Beyond Carbon conference in Adelaide would also have been struck by the more mundane sense of abundant commercial opportunity communicated by the cleantech industry.
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This reflects the global upsurge of investment in the technologies and products and services of wholeness, and the prospect of many billions of dollars still to be profitably invested. Wherever the depths of the catastrophe awaiting us are plumbed, it is incumbent on thought leaders of all sorts in all circumstances to match that source of hand-wringing paralysis with a liberating, inspiring, accessible vision of possibilities. We must move to a carbon-free, low-consumption economy and do it fast. But we go on opening new coal mines, new coal-fired power plants, new factories pouring out more STUFF … There is an alternative.
We are free to choose to create the carbon-free economy, to limit human population and to reduce material consumption. We could live a richer and more satisfying life by making this choice. Australia has most to lose by runaway climate change but also great advantages in leading in limiting global warming. The technology is available now or needs minimal development. Alternatively, we can choose to continue to consume—survival is not compulsory. And we are freed to travel it—from the old paradigm to the new, from paralysis to action, from fragmentation to wholeness, from fear to opportunity.
Linda Lear, Rachel Carson: The connection between these events is that agriculture and food production are energy intensive and sensitive to energy cost as a consequence. In fact, virtually every aspect of human activity is dependent on a readily available supply of moderately priced energy and it is self-evident that significant disruption of this supply will impact substantially on living standards and economies around the world. While the steady increases in oil prices arose to some extent from market speculation, they were underpinned by increasing demand until the financial collapse of late The subsequent fall in oil price will give some respite, but with economic recovery the pressure on price will resume as liquid crude-oil reserves deplete and this, in turn, is likely to lead to increases in the cost of natural gas and coal.
At the current rate of extraction the proven oil reserves will be exhausted in The corresponding figures for natural gas and coal are The massive magnitude of energy use is illustrated by the Nevertheless, fossil fuels are still expected to represent about 80 per cent of energy consumption in according to the International Energy Agency IEA.
Proven liquid crude-oil reserves in billions of barrels by region at the end of and the time to depletion determined by the ratio of the size of the reserve to the rate of extraction. These reserves corresponded to million tonnes of oil exajoules , the natural gases reserves were billion cubic metres exajoules and the coal reserves were million tonnes 21 exajoules.
Percentage of global primary energy by source in The total energy produced was 11 million tonnes of oil equivalent or The combined effects of a rapidly growing population, climate change and rising energy costs pose a challenge to maintaining a secure energy supply and the wellbeing of humanity. An analysis of the way in which we came to this point in our history provides some guidance to achieving a more sustainable future.
The Advent of Fossil Fuels The Industrial Revolution, which was underway in the UK by the midnineteenth century, could not have occurred without the increasing availability of energy and the technology to use it productively. Coal rapidly became the dominant energy source and its use soon spread to Europe where wood had previously been the major fuel. Across the Atlantic the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in Pennsylvania in accelerated the use of oil as further discoveries in the US occurred, and increasing exploitation of Middle Eastern and other oil fields began.
The fossil-fuel age had arrived. Industrialisation spread rapidly in the western world to produce a wide variety of goods for domestic use and export. Mechanisation of agriculture hugely increased the availability of food and released farm and kindred workers for employment in burgeoning new industries. Although often inequitably shared, wealth grew and living standards improved.
This was dominantly possible due to the increasing availability of moderately priced energy from fossil fuels. During the twentieth century, world population grew from 1. Primary energy consumption by the twenty major consumer countries in petajoules in A coincident increase in global carbon-dioxide emissions from It is apparent from this that fossil fuels will continue to provide a major proportion of world energy well into the twenty-first century. In an attempt to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions from fossilfuel usage, proposals for carbon-dioxide capture and storage are attracting substantial attention.
At present, only a few million tonnes are captured and stored annually and the application of this technology will have to be greatly increased if any significant impact is to be made on the 30 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide arising from fossil-fuel combustion in and increasing thereafter. The Carbon-Dioxide Problem Carbon dioxide is a major component of the biological and geochemical carbon cycles that control all life on Earth.
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The most obvious part of these complex processes is photosynthesis. Sunlight powers the combination of carbon dioxide and water to produce carbohydrates, which lead to all of the other complex molecules that make up green plants while at the same time generating the oxygen we breathe. It is rather strange that instead of being viewed as one of the most important molecules sustaining our existence, carbon dioxide is sometimes viewed as just the opposite in climate-change discussions.
This is understandable to some extent as nitrogen and oxygen together make up 99 per cent of the atmosphere and it seems reasonable to think that they should play a dominant role. However, because of the quantum science governing the absorption of energy by molecules, nitrogen and oxygen cannot absorb infra-red radiation and therefore do not contribute to the warming of the atmosphere, or the greenhouse effect, as does carbon dioxide, which absorbs infrared radiation and is the second most important greenhouse gas.
This arose dominantly from the burning of fossil fuels. Such studies are the basis of the daunting climate projections made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC if we do not change our habits and restrict the carbon-dioxide atmospheric Figure 4: The variation of atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels in parts per million by volume ppm at Moana Luo, Hawaii. The regular rise and fall of the carbon-dioxide level about a steadily rising mean value is a consequence of carbon dioxide being taken up in photosynthesis during spring and summer, and being released as deciduous plants lose their leaves which release carbon dioxide as they decay in autumn and winter.
Global carbon-dioxide emissions are accelerating, and the consequent growth in atmospheric carbondioxide levels is monitored globally. By commissioning a new gigawatt coal-fired power plant on an almost weekly basis, China is on the verge of becoming the largest carbon-dioxide emitter from fossil-fuel use. The fifteen largest national carbon-dioxide emissions from fossilfuel burning in The levels of the greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide are also increasing as a 34 Professor Stephen Lincoln result of growing cattle production and nitrogen fertiliser use. Simultaneously with the rise in greenhouse-gas levels, the melting of ice sheets and glaciers which reflect sunlight back into space further compounds the problem.
Thus, humanity finds itself at a perplexing crossroad. By increasing the greenhouse-gas levels in the atmosphere we may cause climate changes that will seriously compromise our future at the very time when population is increasing by about eighty million a year and placing further demands on resources of all kinds. As a consequence carbon trading and capping schemes to control and reduce carbon-dioxide emissions are either in place or under consideration in many countries as the international community contemplates the form of a new treaty to control greenhouse-gas emissions when the Kyoto Protocol expires in Some of the fuel wood was from managed wood lots and some of the remaining plant-based fuel was used on an unplanned renewable basis.
However, unconstrained fuel-wood collection has denuded parts of Africa in particular and is unsustainable. Most hydroelectricity is generated in regions were river-flow is assured and constitutes a secure renewable energy supply. It is estimated that there is sufficient river capacity to increase hydroelectricity to 40 terawatt hours annually, but given the economic, environmental, technological and societal considerations that surround the building of large dams19, it is probable that an increase to about terawatt hours annually is more realistic.
Clearly the contribution from renewable energy must greatly increase if the global dependence on fossil fuels is to be significantly decreased. The Biofuel Option At first glance biofuels are attractive alternatives to fossil fuels, particularly for transport. However, the situation is more complex than this. This precipitates a competition between energy and food in agricultural production and for arable land and is responsible for increasing food prices to some extent. It is salutary to reflect that kilograms of maize which could feed a person for a year, yields about litres of bioethanol; enough to fill the tank of a large automobile.
Quite apart from the threat that this poses to increasingly endangered wildlife, the clearing of forests releases large amounts of carbon dioxide through burning and subsequent decay of plant debris, which take many years of biofuel production to offset. Nevertheless, 40 and 6. Bioethanol and biodiesel production in millions of litres in World Bank, World Development Report Brazilian sugar cane shows a substantially greater profit in the energy content of the bioethanol of megajoules per tonne and the surplus energy generated from the bagasse megajoules per tonne by comparison with the energy used in its production megajoules per tonne.
A major reason for this is that much of the energy used in producing bioethanol from the sucrose comes from burning the crushed sugar cane, or bagasse. Bioethanol produced in this way shows a 90 per cent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions over Towards a Fossil Fuel—Free Future 37 gasoline. Biodiesel is produced from the triglycerides present in vegetable oils and the estimates of the energy contained in the biodiesel and by-products cluster at about 80 per cent greater than the energy input, and at a 50 per cent greenhouse-gas emissions reduction over diesel fuel.
Processes in which cellulose may be economically broken down to carbohydrates for fermentation to produce ethanol, usually called cellulosic ethanol, are subject to much study and could be used to produce ethanol from harvest residues, forest and wood waste, and waste paper. A recent farm-scale study has shown a per cent greater ethanol energy content than the energy input in its production, and a 94 per cent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions over gasoline.
The Nuclear Option Currently, nuclear power supplies 6 per cent of total world energy and 15 per cent of electricity from nuclear reactors in 30 countries. As fossil-fuel costs increase so nuclear power becomes more cost competitive. In , thirty-five new nuclear reactors were being built and others were planned. Currently, the nuclear-fission reactors producing electricity commercially are uranium fuelled 38 Professor Stephen Lincoln and at the present rate of usage, proven uranium reserves could supply uranium for about years.
The storage of high-level nuclear waste imposes a small but long-term cost on nuclear power. This option could greatly increase the amount of electricity generated from uranium reserves. Another type of breeder reactor that produces the nuclear fuel uranium from thorium appears to be likely to begin commercial operation in a decade or so. The alternative source of nuclear power, nuclear fusion of deuterium and tritium to produce helium, has yet to prove its viability. The proposal is essentially to use the same nuclear-fusion process that powers the sun.
No material can withstand such high temperatures and so the fusion plasma will be contained by a powerful magnetic field produced by superconducting magnets. Most of the vast amounts of energy generated will be carried by the neutrons and released as heat as they are slowed by the surrounding structure including a lithium blanket in which lithium-6 absorbs a slow neutron to give tritium and helium and lithium-7, which breaks down when impacted by a fast neutron, to produce more tritium for the fusion reaction along with helium.
The heat is carried away by cooling fluids and could generate superheated steam to drive turbines in a future electricity-generating facility. However, it is anticipated that the ITER is unlikely to be running until , and a demonstration nuclear-fusion power plant is at least thirty years away. This is equal to the exajoules of energy gained from all fossil fuels likely to be used globally in The collector area would include small roof-mounted panels and range up to very large solar collection arrays. While this is easy to say, the technological and infrastructure innovations required to greatly increase the use of solar energy to the point where it replaces a major portion of the energy from fossil fuels should not be underestimated.
These factors will substantially influence the type and geographical location of deployment of major solar-energy facilities. There are two main methods for solar-electricity generation. Solar photovoltaic systems directly convert sunlight into electricity, Figure 7: Silicon-based photovoltaic solar-energy generation is a well-established technology applied to small-scale use, single and multiple dwellings, commercial complexes and large electricity-generating facilities.
Germany is currently the largest user of photovoltaic power, followed by Japan and the United States Figure 7. From the globally installed photovoltaic power increased from kilowatts to 5 kilowatts in , and it is anticipated that the rate of increase of this capacity will continue to grow rapidly. Solar thermal energy systems range from simple roof-mounted solar water heaters through to major electricity-generating systems that can supply electricity through the night.
Solar Tres is Figure 8: A simplified schematic of the Solar Tres solar tower sodium nitrate—potassium nitrate molten salt thermal solar power station outside Seville, Spain. The total heliostat surface area is square metres and the site area is hectares. The annual electricity production is 23 gigawatt hours, and variations in daily and seasonal sunlight intensity are catered for by using a natural-gas back-up heating system.
The Nevada 1 solar thermal power plant, which began operating in , has an electricity-generating capacity of 64 megawatts with a capability to provide electricity through the night. An earlier and impressive demonstration of the capabilities of solar thermal energy electricity generation occurred when, between and , solar thermal power plants with a total capacity of megawatts using solar troughs where built in the Mohave Desert. Although these plants have little capacity for nighttime electricity generation they have fed more than 10 million megawatt hours of electricity into the Californian grid.
The hot ammonia subsequently passes through a heat exchanger to produce highpressure superheated steam to generate 10 megawatts of electricity. This system also has sufficient storage capacity to generate electricity through the night. The solar thermal power plant technologies vary considerably and will undergo further refinement as the number of installations grows and competition between the different technologies strengthens. It appears likely that exploitation of this energy source will continue to grow rapidly The Wind Option Wind power has been used for centuries to pump water and grind corn, and although phased out as cheap oil and electricity became available the old windmills are preserved as picturesque and interesting historical enhancements in the landscape.
While the public reception of the sleek, modern, electricity-generating wind turbines is mixed, they represent a very immediate way of harnessing a vast, if intermittent, form of energy. The global cumulative installed wind capacity has increased at a rapid rate from to 93 megawatts in the period to , with Germany having the greatest national capacity Figure 9. Denmark presently derives 20 per cent of its Figure 9: The fifteen largest national electricity generating wind power capacities in megawatts at the end of It is anticipated that the increasing global rate of establishing wind farms will see capacity rise to gigawatts by with the terawatt hours of electricity generated representing 3 per cent of the global total for electricity.
Off-shore wind farms with megawatt capacities currently being built and planned are exemplified by the London Array in the Thames estuary. Generally, wind power is a major component in most proposals for increasing dependency on renewable energy. As an indication of the magnitude of the infrastructure change implied by becoming more reliant on wind power, it would require five million wind turbines producing 15 megawatt hours on a daily basis to generate The Geothermal Option Geothermal energy in its various forms has been in use for more than a century and in contributed 1.
Pumping water several kilometres down boreholes into fracture zones produces superheated high-pressure steam to drive electricity-generating turbines. Heat extraction in this way slowly cools the granite but generally the formation is so massive that this will take several hundred years before the temperature falls to a level where energy generation becomes unviable.
System designs vary with the character of the substrata and climate of the location. By pumping a carrier fluid through sealed pipes, heat may be transferred from the substrata to a building interior or vice versa depending on the season. The Hydrogen Option Hydrogen, the lightest and most plentiful element in the Universe, in its diatomic form is increasingly looked upon as a major fuel of the future.
Some biological production of hydrogen amounting to — million tonnes annually also occurs, but there are no readily available natural reserves of hydrogen to be exploited for human use. A by-product is carbon dioxide. This hydrogen is mainly used in the chemical, fertiliser and oil industries. However, hydrogen is now being considered as a transportation fuel to the extent that it could replace seven billion barrels of oil usage annually in the United States by The capture and storage of the carbon dioxide produced simultaneously with hydrogen from coal is achievable with current technology, however such production would have the overall effect of deriving less energy from coal than is derived from its direct combustion, and shortening the lifetime of the remaining reserves.
As a consequence, hydrogen production together with oxygen from the photolysis of water by sunlight, and the electrolysis of water using electricity generated from renewable resources and nuclear power, are the more probable routes to new large-scale production for use as either a portable or stationary energy source. It is estimated that sufficient hydrogen to power the entire million light road vehicles in the United States could be produced from million tonnes of water annually, which compares with 18 million tonnes used domestically, million tonnes used in gasoline production and million tonnes used by fossil fuel and nuclear power plants.
On a weight for weight basis hydrogen carries 2. Its volume may be reduced by pressurisation or liquefaction but storage costs are high. A range of methods for low-volume storage in composite materials show considerable promise but are some time away from practical application. The Future Human ingenuity tends to come to the fore in times of stress and although we have not yet reached the point of insurmountable difficulty there is no doubt that the longer we take to act to both minimise climate change and ensure security of energy supply, the greater will be the cost. Fortunately, we already have the ability to avoid serious damage on either front using current technology to produce energy from renewable resources and to increase the efficiency of its use.
Substantial infrastructure changes will be required to achieve these targets. However, the economically exploitable uranium and thorium deposits are finite so that viewed in the longer term, nuclear-fission power is an interim energy resource. This leaves solar and wind energy, with an attendant hydrogen production, as the leading contenders to fill the energy gap as fossil fuels become scarcer and economically less competitive. Tidal and wave power may become attractive options, but at present are not in the van of renewable-energy technologies. If the production of biofuels can be uncoupled from food production they could make a significant contribution to the global renewableenergy resource.
Geothermal energy is likely to assume increasing importance where geological features allow reasonable access. The future energy mix will vary between countries depending on their geographic location. It is probable that the gradual change to renewable energy will see a greater dependence on nationally generated energy resources coincident with a decrease in imported energy use.
This should lower the probability of conflict over energy resources. Like it or not we have to aim for a largely fossil fuel—free global economy and the accompanying infrastructure changes for all of the reasons explored above and to ensure a good future for the coming generations. Notes 1 2 3 The international unit of energy or heat is the joule. The international unit of electricity intensity is the watt. One kilowatt applied for one hour, or 1 kilowatt hour, is equal to kilojoules. Both joules and watts are given prefixes as the amount of energy and electricity increases by factors of one thousand.
Hence, kilojoule, megajoule, gigajoule, terajoule, petajoule and exajoule; kilowatt, megawatt, gigawatt, terawatt, petawatt and exawatt; kilowatt hour, megawatt hour etc. Oil is traded in barrels, natural gas in cubic metres and coal in tonnes. Stephen Lincoln, Challenged Earth: A Journal of the Human Environment, vol. InterAcademy Council, Lighting the Way: Serreze, Holland and Stroeve. At no point in history have people been more engaged in the debate over environmental problems. This new concern is yet to really translate into significant action—green ideas still feature more prominently in opinion polls than in actual purchasing decisions at the checkout—but now is the time to harness this interest and advance knowledge around the problems.
Better information can help society translate sustainable thinking into sustainable living. As with any great opportunity, however, there are also significant challenges to be overcome in the arena of communication, with much of the issue simply that some people will always try to exploit what they can from the situation, without proper regard for the overall impact.
The big problem is, however, that in the multifarious realm of environmental communication, there is rarely a clear-cut answer as to what claims can be trusted, and which must be taken with a grain—or a ship load—of salt. A Question of Numbers In most impact modelling, and especially in the emerging field of environmental economics, the results you get from any study are highly dependent on the information and assumptions you feed in. In a Hyder Consulting study, Joe Pickin looked at forty-two different attempts to run a cost—benefit analysis CBA on recycling—a process generally considered to provide a robust analysis of issues because it covers such a wide array of factors.
Members of the general public are hardly going to critically examine the in-built assumptions of complicated modelling systems, but people do quickly become frustrated when faced with opposing information. Non-experts—including the media—often lack the skills to critically evaluate such claims and, by the time other experts have poured over the numbers and found the flaws, the damage of such a statement is often done.
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But who can tell which report is right, which expert is most trustworthy, or even which product is the greenest? The Diabolical Dilemma The natural complexity of environmental issues does not stop marketers trying to push simple lines, and again it is little wonder the public is growing confused and distracted when faced with the question of who and what to believe.
Take the example of paper. The number-one green claim made about the product concerns recycled content, with consumers most engaged around the topic of deforestation—nothing rouses the greenie spirit like photos of bulldozers pushing down great swathes of the Amazon. But paper production is far from a single impact issue. To see the big picture and really get a handle on which paper product is best for the environment, a range of energy use, water and waste-water management, and waste generation impacts all need to be considered.
High complexity and cost, already major problems, look even scarier when coupled with a recent Australian Choice magazine study of products, which found green claims between them—each of which would need to be probed if a thorough examination of the environmental claims were to be made. It is a horrendously difficult problem, but all is not hopeless; there may not be any perfect way to communicate the issues, overcome the challenges and blaze one true, straight path forward, Communicating Complexity in the Carbon-Aware World 55 but there is always a best-practice method.
So long as the bestpractice bar keeps going up and we all keep meandering in the right general direction on the sustainability path, we will all get somewhere eventually. Beyond the Light Bulb For all the reasons already outlined above, it is rarely possible to accurately and independently evaluate the fine detail of the claims made in environmental communication.
But there are clearly ways to improve the veracity of claims and help ensure the opportunity to get better traction on environmental topics is not wasted. The ACCC has also updated its guide to green claims, at the same time showing a willingness to crack down on companies making false or unsupported claims. These measures do not provide any knockout blow to dealing with the host of problems surrounding the topic, although they do at least provide some guidance on how marketers and brand owners should act when faced with imperfect information.
Step change technology is needed, and it is being developed. Cleantech developers are, by their very nature, on the cutting edge of their field, building products and conducting business in a way that few—if any—have already tried. The risk is that when throwing a completely new concept into the public arena—which is what most start-ups hope to do—the chances of non-experts understanding the revolution are pretty slim. The issue of explaining new technology to non-experts, especially through the media, is just one of the many problems pioneering companies encounter, but one which is commonly overlooked.
Despite innovators needing a wider skill set than just inventive thinking to see a good idea become a viable option, many fail to recognise proper communication as a core priority, which is as regrettable as it is understandable.
Opportunities Beyond Carbon (Academic Monographs) - PDF Free Download
Still, many innovators fail to draw the distinction between what they know about a topic and what an outsider knows or ever wants to know. The technology developer and any third party trying to pass on the concept needs to resist the temptation to launch into too much detail when starting out on a topic. By starting simple and providing more detail as the audience begins to want more on specific points, a clearer picture of a new idea can be developed and embraced. This task is made much simpler in the Web-based world, where a mass of information can be hosted online so those with a niche interest can access as much complex background information as they desire.
We live in the most transparent world ever, and again this increases the need for the information a company puts out there to be of high quality—faced with a mass of information sources, consumers need not waste time deciphering poorly worded or badly researched information. The inventors and experts who recognise the importance of good communication frameworks and who put the time and effort into developing simple, robust ways to express their ideas do still have an amazing and rare opportunity to help educate and inform an interested community.
Everyone knows there is no way out of the environmental conundrums we face without engaging the wider public; everyone 58 Garth Lamb should also recognise there is no way to engage the public without good, clear communication.
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My fellow contributors to this book include some of those best placed to clearly communicate important environmental concepts and to spread the excitement of the emerging opportunities to a wider audience. There are still many challenges for us all to overcome in developing, proving and selling the sorts of products and ideas that can make a real dent in reducing our environmental impacts.
But at every level, from large-scale zero-emission energy generation through to eco-friendly dish soap, the developers and marketers who can combine good ideas with good communication have an unparalleled chance to shape the future by engaging with an eager public. Communicating Complexity in the Carbon-Aware World 59 Part 2 Community Opportunities C ommunities are the first building block of society that has enough scale to make significant differences to the world.
Behaviour change and initiatives by individuals and families are an essential component of change at all levels, and communities are where these initiatives first show themselves. The functions and social norms of communities are extremely powerful. By changing how a community sees itself, the behaviours of large groups of people can be changed swiftly.
Conversely, communities can be extremely resistant to change and if not brought in as part of the solution, can effectively block the best of initiatives by all levels of government. Jamie Oliver, the TV chef, knows to his cost the challenge of changing entrenched community behaviour. In his Ministry of Food initiative he tried to get the community of Rotherham in the UK to change its eating habits to create a healthier community with less obesity.
While many in the community saw the value in his proposition and even tried to change, most soon reverted to their old ways once the daily routine resumed. Dysfunctional communities with no local shops, built only for those with cars, is therefore one of the drivers of obesity. Maybe only by combining strong community communication with government intervention and sustainable planning initiatives, can long-term changes be secured.
This is a lesson for the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Opportunities Beyond Carbon
Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations writing in Time in April discussed the importance of effectively solving local sustainability issues to achieve the required global outcomes. While this focused on issues in the Sudan, the lessons of resolving local issues as part of global solution are highly transferable. Many of the challenges we face, from poverty to armed conflict, are linked to the effects of global warming. Finding a solution to climate change can bring benefits in other areas. A greener planet will be a more peaceful and prosperous one too.
The basic building block of peace and security for all peoples is economic and social security, anchored in sustainable development. It is a key to all problems. New search User lists Site feedback Ask a librarian Help. Advanced search Search history.
Opportunities Beyond Carbon (Academic Monographs)
Browse titles authors subjects uniform titles series callnumbers dewey numbers starting from optional. See what's been added to the collection in the current 1 2 3 4 5 6 weeks months years. Cite this Email this Add to favourites Print this page. Catalogue Persistent Identifier https: You must be logged in to Tag Records. In the Library Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. Details Collect From N N pbk Main Reading Room. Learning to Work Joanne Reidy. La Trobe Dianne Reilly. Renegades and Rats Jacqueline Dickenson. Australia and the European Superpower Philomena Murray.
Lost Waters Erica Nathan. War and Words Trish Payne. Review quote "Ever since a former Astronomer Royal announced that 'space travel is impossible' we have found ways to postpone the future. But there are much better things to do with carbon than setting it alight. This terrific book explores some of the most exciting alternatives-for a future replete with energy, sustainability and choice. Robyn Williams, host of The Science Show, ABC Radio By focussing on the opportunities rather than the challenges of climate change, this book provides an excellent platform to drive changes with tangible benefits for all.
The breadth of opportunities covered gives hope that this will indeed be the 'best crisis we ever had'. Mark Lynas, author of Six Degrees: