Cooling Climate Change
Written by: Megan Mulally
Illustration by: Tubik Studio
Remaining motivated in the face of the harrowing projections about climate change can be difficult. That’s why we’ve pulled together a list of some of the most interesting projects paving the way toward a brighter future.
The temperature of the Earth’s crust will reach the warming limit by the year 2040. This and other projections concerning climate change were published in a 2021 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Started in 1988 by the United Nations, the IPCC assesses climate change every six years and publishes their findings. The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report included a series of disconcerting studies, including the projection that the temperature of the Earth’s crust will rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), which is the warming limit, in less than 20 years. If the global temperature reaches this warming limit, the effects of climate change are likely impossible to reverse.
Union of Concerned Scientists are raising awareness, funding grassroots movements and conducting projects aimed at slowing climate change and reversing its impact.
People dedicate their lives to fighting climate change and work tirelessly to reverse its detrimental effects while it is still possible. Organizations like 350, Greenpeace and the Union of Concerned Scientists are raising awareness, funding grassroots movements and conducting projects aimed at slowing climate change and reversing its impact. While climate change is a daunting topic that many people avoid, learning about it can be a positive experience when emphasizing interesting scientific and technological projects making an impact.
SCoPEx, short for Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment, is an effort driven by Harvard University’s Keutsch Research Group. The experiment tests one of many proposed methods to cool the global temperature — spraying calcium carbonate into the upper atmosphere and studying whether or not it can reflect some of the sun’s rays back into space.
OLIO is a food-sharing program that was incorporated in 2015 by two London-based moms. The aim of their program is to reduce food waste, which they have been able to do through their app. Users post their extra produce for neighbors to claim in order to avoid throwing it away. The OLIO website sums up just how big of a problem food waste is: “A third of the food we produce globally is thrown away, and in the UK households are responsible for over half of all food waste.” OLIO has already reduced the amount of the UK’s food waste and has since expanded to 59 other countries.
In 2009, Stanford University Professor Dr. Patrick O. Brown gathered a team of scientists to address the ever-growing issue of climate change. Their goal was to recreate meat, dairy and fish products using plants in order to make the global food system more sustainable, as animal farming has had one of the largest impacts on climate change. In 2016, they released the first Impossible product, the Impossible Burger, and now have a sausage and chicken nugget line.
Because of climate change, the “safe” ice season is shortening and making it more dangerous for those that live in Arctic coastal communities to travel. SmartICE, short for Sea-ice Monitoring and Real Time Information for Coastal Environments, was founded to fight this growing issue. SmartICE works in collaboration with the Inuit people to monitor their program. They track the characteristics of sea-ice and measure how safe it is to travel to create maps of recommended travel routes, as well as distribute travel warnings and observations made by travelers in real time.
Aktion Pflanzen-Power & Keeks
Aktion Pflanzen-Power & Keeks, or Climate-Efficient School Kitchens and Plant-Powered Pupils in English, is a collection of two different programs based in Germany. The first program, Aktion Pflanzen-Power, is sponsored by German health insurance provider, BKK ProVita, and ProVeg International, a “leading international food awareness organization.” The program aims to educate schoolchildren on how to make healthy and sustainable food choices. The second program, KEEKS (Climate Efficient School Canteens), is sponsored by the Institute for Future Studies and Technology Assessment, ProVeg, ifeu, Wuppertal Institut, Netzwerk e.V., Faktor 10 and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment. KEEKS trains public school kitchen staff in how to make “sustainable, low-cost, healthy meals in public schools.” The projects have reached over 23,000 students and 150 different schools across Germany and have the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of those students by over 1 million kilograms.
HelpUsGreen was founded by Karan Rastogi, a graduate from Warwick Business School, who researched sustainable ways to process floral waste from religious ceremonies and created a program to turn that waste into a variety of lifestyle products. Since the creation of HelpUsGreen in 2015, the organization has recycled 21,060 tons of temple waste, winning numerous awards for their efforts.
“Yalla Let’s Bike” Initiative
“Yalla Let’s Bike,” or “Come on Let’s Bike” in English, is an initiative started in 2014 by Sarah Zein. The goal of her program is to take a stand against sexual harassment that female cyclists encounter when on the streets of Syria and to “promote bicycling as a healthy and eco-friendly mode of transportaion.” Since the creation of the campaign in 2013, “bicycle sales have risen by 60% in Damascus,” the capital of Syria. The initiative has also led to the installation of bicycle paths and parking in Damascus, something the capital city had neglected until “Yalla Let’s Bike.”
We Care Solar
We Care Solar has provided life-saving, clean energy to 7.5 million mothers and babies during childbirth. The program was founded by Dr. Laura Stachel, and Hal Aronson, a solar energy educator, who studied the high maternal mortality rates in northern Nigerian hospitals and designed and created Solar Suitcases to fight the high mortality rate. Midwives in northern Nigerian hospitals were often operating without reliable electricity and left to conduct life-saving procedures by flashlight. We Care’s Solar Suitcase is powered by the sun and provides light and electricity during life-saving operations. Since their first model’s distribution in 2012, We Care Solar Suitcases have provided light during over four million births and prevented nearly 70,000 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.