June 5 is celebrated as Environment Day, commemorating the date agreed upon by the members of the United Nations to commemorate the first United Nations Conference on the Environment in Stockholm. This is the United Nations’ flagship day to promote global environmental awareness and action.

This date is a good opportunity to remember and be aware of how damaging we are to our environment, and that we must halve our annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 if we are to keep global warming below 1.5°C. Failure to achieve this goal will have negative consequences for our natural environment and therefore for human society, such as rising sea levels, which will mean the displacement of entire coastal populations (as in the case of the Maldives, for example); loss of arable land; or even more than 400 million people without access to water.

Despite some skeptics, the scientific society agrees that this increase in temperature is mainly due to human activity, and if we see how greenhouse gas emissions have increased since the first industrial revolution, it is evident to relate technological advances with them.

Since humans stopped being nomadic and discovered agriculture and livestock, they began to shape nature and the environment to their liking, in order to meet their needs and achieve greater comfort.

Unfortunately today we know that these actions and technological advances have been leaving an increasingly important footprint on our environment, to the point of putting us in a limited situation in which we must take action to curb these negative impacts. One is radical and utopian, as it requires that the more than 7 billion human beings that inhabit the earth come to an agreement and leave aside our consumerist nature. This implies a profound social change, which makes it a very difficult alternative to carrying out.

Our part
The other alternative is to start using this technology as an instrument to achieve sustainable development and maintain our comfort, “allowing us to reduce polluting emissions and make what is not sustainable become so, in order to have a world to inherit to future generations” (Smith & Enger, 2006).

This is already becoming evident in the new generations of companies and technological enterprises, which are no longer conceived with an extractive policy, but in communion with nature and the environment.

Feeding
Plant-based animal protein companies

Mobility
Electric cars (look for public incentive policies as in Norway, etc.)

Energy
Great development in the last 10 years of solar and wind energy, the development of new technologies (hydrokinetics, nuclear fusion).

Plastics or Waste
Clean seas, development of bioplastics.

To conclude
In this fast-paced and constantly changing and advancing industry, we must see the environment not only as a responsibility, using technology as an engine of change but also as an opportunity. Better said, as a set of infinite niche opportunities to combine business with an improvement in the environment that surrounds us.

Written by environmental engineer, Martín Paladini.

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