It is time to embrace technology…

Sitting at the press conference listening to experts speak about application of technology to protect the environment I was intrigued to hear about
carbon capture.
We talk so much about air pollution and there is actually a solution. Just like the solar energy waiting to be tapped, or the rain water that rushes through the wadis to join the sea. They are all untapped resources. Why haven’t we been able to think of ways to utilise them? Researchers and scientists have been working. It is usually the cost that slows down the process for the technology to reach the common man.
Imagine if we were using the solar energy and think of all that energy we did not use. Same goes with harvesting of fog and rainwater. And now the carbon capture — extracting carbon from the air. We clean the air through the process but what do you do with the carbon? Bury it? Then we are not doing much. Scientists and innovators found better
use and they made bricks out of this captured carbon.
It is time to think out of the box. We all have an opportunity to be innovative — scientifically or socially. Every time we pick up 200 ml bottled water because of the convenience and to avoid wasting water, it is a dilemma — do we avoid wasting water or do we add one more plastic bottle to the trash?
Better option would be to carry the normal sized water bottle around until you gulp down the last drop of water in the bottle before we dispose it. Think about the cost and work that must have gone into producing the bottled water and the bottle itself.
The next step would be to save the bottle for recycling and separating it from other waste. According to Dr Veerle Vandeweerd, Director Policy Global Sustainable Technology and Innovation Conference Series (G-STIC), energy is not the problem, the issue is engineering. As a matter of fact she explained that the cost of solar energy production has come down and has begun to compete with the fuel based energy.
She cited the example of sea weed — something which we avoid. But farmers have begun to tap it for commercial benefits. According to the article published in carbonbrief.com titled ‘Around the world in 22 carbon capture projects’: “Only three of the 22 active global projects are power stations. The remainder includes nine industrial facilities manufacturing iron or processing tar sands, for instance. Then there are ten projects at natural gas processing facilities.”
Majority of the projects are in US and many will use the captured carbon to pump out more oil from the wells by injecting it underground. So in other words carbon capture is not just a corporate social responsibility but a resource and revenue.
On the other hand many projects have come up with ways to make fuel out of carbon capture and most interestingly bricks that are now being used for green building. So what is stopping everyone? It goes back to engineering. The technology is existing as solutions to many issues but maybe we have not brought
technology into the main stream conversations.
A visit to the next door gadget shop would give us an idea on the latest technology that has brought in life style changes. What was unthinkable is at the tip of our fingers.
As in the case of carbon captured from air would not have meant so much if it had not been viable. “We need to use it — then it has value,” explained Dr Veerle adding “We ought to have carbon and bamboo based economies.” She left me intrigued again. Bamboo based economy? “Yes, bamboo can produce many things. It has value from building materials to textiles,” she explained.
It was time for me to find out more and this is what I came across- bamboo is environmental because it does not need fertilizers, it is considered as a renewable resource and is economical as it requires very less maintenance and has been part of livelihood support system for many. There is so much to the bamboo.
There must be a lot we have missed out on in the past and many more to discover but one thing is for sure it is time to embrace technology.