As climate change reports become increasingly dire and President Donald Trump has rejected both climate science and the Paris pact to reduce emissions, people around the world —from the world’s poorest to the wealthiest — are creating their own solutions to protect Earth’s natural resources and protect the environment. Here are some ways entrepreneurs, businesses and ordinary citizens are harnessing innovation and technology to in an effort to rescue the planet from the wrath of climate change.
Halting a silent killer
California-born entrepreneur Eric Reynolds will tell you he is on the verge of freeing much of humanity from the scourge of the cooking fire. “A lot of people think it’s too good to be true,” said Reynolds, who started outdoor gear company Marmot in the 1970s. The company he is building across Rwanda, Inyenyeri, aims to replace Africa’s dependence on charcoal and firewood by giving away clean-burning stoves and make money by charging for the fuel, wood pellets. He said forests would be spared; customers would gain a reprieve from ailments related to smoke from cooking, including cataracts, heart disease and respiratory ailments that, in many countries, kill more people than malaria, HIV and tuberculosis combined; and rural residents would be freed from the time-sucking drudgery of having to look for wood.
Capturing methane to heat homes
The world’s largest pork producer, Smithfield, is teaming up with Dominion Energy to harness methane gas from noxious hog lagoons in North Carolina, Virginia and Utah to heat homes and combat climate change. The firms have agreed to spend $125 million each over 10 years. The venture, which would be one of the largest animal waste-to-energy efforts of its kind, would be a step forward in containing U.S. agricultural emissions, which account for 9 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. Ken Sullivan, Smithfield chief executive, said, “This effort is focused on the waste aspect in our endeavor to divert an inevitable part of the waste stream into something usable, that has economic benefit and, in the process, reduces our carbon footprint.” He said farmers would benefit, too.
The civilian guide to clean air
The newest apocalypse preparation choice for 2019 is not a bunker. It’s a gadget that measures air pollution. They are marketed to discerning consumers, some of whom have self-identified as “breathers.” The Atmotube and PlumeLab’s Flow are meant to be carried, testing the air as a person walks or bikes, helping people plan routes that avoid bad air. The Awair sits on a counter to test indoor air and Aeroqual has an advanced particulate monitor. But the one most intriguing local government environmental protection agencies and civilians alike is PurpleAir. It hooks up outside, connects to Wi-Fi, feeds into a global network and creates something like a guerrilla air quality monitoring network. Founder Adrian Dybwad, said, “Having this type of power in the public’s hands, it gives a check on the government.”