Sustainability, completeness of concepts, and Glasgow
much work to be done
CO2 emissions reduction and CO2 removal are of utmost importance and absolutely necessary.
However, as professionals, we must be truthful with society and acknowledge that battery EV, solar, and wind alternatives involve Extraction and end-of-life Landfill and Storage of materials, which is not sustainable.
Without bona fide complete and clean zero-waste recycling and material recovery processes, we can only characterize these technologies as stop-gap measures until we can truly recycle 100 percent of the spent batteries, panels, blades, and other materials.
Yes, research is ongoing and methods are being developed, but the grade is "Incomplete" for each at this point.
Presently, we are creating new stockpiles of waste for future generations to contend with as we are contending with coal ash, CO2, and more now.
We must resolve to make bigger strides toward truly sustainable living.
Lifestyle decisions are as important as technologies.
It is easy to predict future generations mining landfills and waste storage sites for resources as they seek to achieve truly Sustainable lifestyles and clean the new messes we have left behind. To be truly Sustainable, Extraction and Landfilling cannot be part of the process. Extend our thinking to models for 500 and 1,000 years and beyond.
I'd like to see what other Engineers and Scientists have to say and work with colleagues on truly Sustainable projects for the long-term good of Earth and life on Earth. Who else is thinking of this in this way? Are there publications on this yet?
Sustainability and Glasgow.
Sharing some analytical commentary after reading the Glasgow Climate Pact (the document of 11 pages in length published recently).
They use the words "Acknowledges", "Recognizes", and "Urges" many times more than they use more definitive and specific terms in the 97 items. It often references the Paris Agreement and features a desire to bolster the efforts pledged therein while asking for more. Unfortunately, the Paris Agreement fell short scientifically (the pledges made were not enough to achieve the stated goal). And, the pledges were not met. Now, they cite a shorter time frame for greater pledged reductions without definitive direction given. It sadly does not seem realistic based on the current state of global affairs and politics in general. Also, much of the emphasis is on rhetoric regarding wealth transfer and shifting funds, including a 100 Billion USD per year request from developed country parties (cumulative total) around the globe for both climate finance and efforts to eradicate poverty. It's not clear how effectively the funds will be or can be utilized between now and 2030. That's a very short time frame. We must try our best to make positive change happen and the sentiment is commendable.
This Pact, unfortunately, fails to address two very important, fundamental items required for success.
One is the issue of overpopulation. A global effort to promote healthy living, birth control, and preventive care are keys to creating a healthy, sustainable society on a healthy planet. Ehrlich et al listed an optimum population of 1.5 to 2 Billion. My figures fall between 1.5 and 3 Billion. Various factors including standard of living choices make this a controversial topic, so let it suffice to say that carrying capacity has been greatly exceeded. Also, in economic terms, less than a third of the current global population is above poverty level and much of the economy is on shaky ground or based on materialistic mindsets detrimental to healthy living and environmental causes in general.
The second missing item is a major program focused on reaching and educating individuals globally, showing people positive changes they can and must make at home for their own sake, and informing them of how those cumulative grassroots changes are of huge importance in solving the global crises we face, especially environmental crises. (my short list of crises provided in comments later).
For now, the increase in awareness and commitments from some parties are good news. However, the lack of a definitive plan and specific, effective action items delegated to each party and failure to meet previous pledges and definitive commitments on the part of wealthy, highly-consumptive nations is disheartening.
When the world is ready to elect and appoint a team of scientists, engineers, financial experts, and behavioral health professionals to take the reins, send word. Don't wait long while thinking about it, though, because in the grand scheme we don't have a lot of time left and the Environment doesn't have much more time than folks in my age group. The sixth mass extinction continues as we speak instead of act. I wonder how it will all look in the year 2100. Sure, some life will survive, but it's likely to be only a shadow of what it could and should be since human society is not truly committed to itself or the planet on which it depends.
Here's to hoping positive change is achieved quickly. Let's keep hope alive.
First draft, crises list
Pollution in the land, water, air (hazards to life, straws, 6-pack rings, bags, smog, particles, toxins, etc)
Destruction of habitat (prairies, forests, wetlands (IL only .01% prairie left))
Greenhouse gases (CO2, Methane) and refrigerants (Ozone layer affected)
Pharmaceutical drugs and products in the environment (medicines, etc)
Chemicals in the environment (pesticides, fertilizers, cleaners, etc)
Overpopulation and poverty...
lack of safe water supply
food insecurity, hunger, and starvation
lack of proper sanitation
inconsistent or no electricity
struggle to meet basic needs, 3.4 billion+
extreme poverty, 9 percent, 698,000,000
#future #sustainability #solar #mining #batteries #recycling #engineers #society #wind #scientists #sciencecommunication #sciencepolicy #zerowaste #cop26 #change #paris #glasgow #finance #environment
About the author
Raised in rural east-central Illinois, I appreciate nature and the environment. I'm a father, grandfather, professional engineer, leader, researcher, coach, scouts leader, stoic, minimalist, costumer, historian, traveler, and writer.