Climate change is a pressing social and ecological issue — it affects everyone, whether people believe in its impact or not. People around the world work tirelessly to slow the phenomenon and reduce the damage that’s already occurred. This fight can feel like an endless endeavor, but it’s vital to saving the current generation and generations to come.
You’re likely familiar with the most popular methods of eco-friendly living, such as reducing meat consumption and forgoing plastic. But researchers have produced many additional strategies you might not know about. You may think some of them are a bit far-out, but sometimes the wildest ideas do the most good. After all, who would’ve thought that people would have smartphones or electric cars one day?
With that in mind, here are six ways people are fighting to end global warming.
1. Halting Solar Radiation
Scientists have brainstormed crafty techniques to reduce the amount of solar radiation on Earth — though whether they’re all feasible remains to be seen. Harvard researchers are working on a plan to release calcium carbonate particles into the stratosphere to cool the planet. These tiny particles will reflect some of the sun’s rays into space and away from the globe.
Researchers refer to this concept as solar geoengineering, and others are attempting it with different materials. Sulphur has popped up as a viable contender because of its cooling properties. A similar effect happens when a volcano erupts and sends sulfur into the air, which blocks the sun. However, like an actual volcanic explosion, this method has significant drawbacks such as acid rain.
2. Transforming The Energy Grid
A future of solar panels, hydroelectricity and wind turbines may soon be on the horizon. Renewable energy has grown in popularity and accessibility due to falling costs, and tax incentives offer more reasons to make the switch. Many power grids incorporate a handful of clean technologies, but climate change experts have suggested all-renewable electricity networks to eliminate fossil fuel usage.
A fully renewable network would give users more independence over their energy — how they use it and what sources they employ. The success of such projects would depend on numerous factors, like location, diversity of power sources and capacity for electricity storage. Developers could initiate these clean grids in smaller towns and expand to larger areas.
3. Building Dams
Flooding is a harmful byproduct of rising temperatures. Icy structures melt and cause water levels to rise, which erodes sandbanks and other landforms. Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay will soon be underwater due to global warming, and this is only one of many similar cases. People are pushing back against these floodwaters by building seawalls and dams.
The “AquaDam” is a curious example of how companies are stifling floods. It uses water, the very thing it’s made to block, to stop rivers and lakes from overflowing. In the past, people have used earthen-fill materials like sandbags to hinder dangerous floodwaters. These sandbags caused environmental damage due to discharging their inner materials, which led the EPA to search for other alternatives. Luckily, solutions like AquaDam provide pollution-free substitutes.
4. Eliminating Plastic
Say goodbye to your plastic grocery bags and hello to reusable totes. After manufacturers began mass-producing plastic in the 1950s, people have since dumped tons of it into the ocean — whether directly or inadvertently. A lot of plastic has entered global seas within its short lifespan, and many people are trying to fight this pollution. California enforces a statewide ban on single-use grocery bags, while New York has recently passed a similar law.
Companies that use plastic packaging are developing new ways to ship and sell products without contributing to environmental harm. Some have created new packaging styles from sustainable materials, while others have adopted the closed-loop manufacturing system. All products they deliver to their end-users return to their facility for recycling or reuse.
5. Creating Eco-Friendly Materials
What would you say if the next house you saw was built from bricks containing cigarette butts? Or if your shampoo bottle consisted of a new plastic made from chicken feathers? Those realities could be closer than you think, thanks to researchers substituting inorganic elements for natural alternatives.
All materials require energy and resources to create, but some need less than others. Manufacturing methods that repurpose waste products use less power, which reduces carbon emissions.
People can buy eco-friendly versions of goods they know and love. The only differences would be the physical composition and environmental burden. Companies can reuse existing materials instead of sourcing and processing brand new substances. This lowers their operating costs while keeping their profits the same.
6. Cleaning The Air With Algae
Are you tired of polluted air invading your lungs? Thanks to algae, you can take a breath without worrying about fuel emissions and airway damage. These organisms absorb large quantities of CO2-filled air and release oxygen, much like trees and other plants do.
Marine creatures like these produce most of the oxygen you breathe even when they’re deep in the ocean. Many scientists have realized how algae can help cleanse atmospheric pollution and have used them in air purifiers, chandeliers and much more.
Saving The Environment One Idea At A Time
Environmentalism is the future. It will help people discover new ways to protect the planet, even if some inventions are more unconventional than one would expect.
No idea is too strange in the fight against climate change, though, and the Earth may very well depend on these innovations.