With any problem that our species faces as a whole, come new and creative ideas to solve these problems. A group of innovators steps up and tries to solve the problem to the best of their ability. Climate change is one of these huge problems that our species is facing today. The forecast for climate change is grim, but that is not all there is to the story. There are tons of small entrepreneurs that are reinventing energy and that are poised to save the planet through their ideas.
“Our future growth relies on competitiveness and innovation, skills and productivity” Julia Gillard
As an eager freshman determined to face the climate change problem head on, I came across this book called Earth: The Sequel by Fred Krupp and Miriam Horn. This book is all about how small entrepreneurs are using capitalism to save the world.
One way these innovators are trying to solve climate change is by finding ways to make products more efficient. An example of this is PAX Scientific in San Rafael, California. Founded in 1997, Jay Harman harnessed nature’s efficiency to mundane products: fans and mixers, propellers and turbines. He first noticed that seaweed will twist itself into a coil in order for water to easily pass through it with the least possible resistance. Harman translated these natural shapes into mathematical algorithms that made these products. One of their first products was a little fan for refrigerator motors that is 25% more efficient than the conventional fans. If everyone who owned a refrigerator had this motor, it would translate to 219,000 megawatt-hour of electricity not being used (Krupp and Horn, 2008). Not too shabby for a refrigerator fan.
Another example is Serious Material, a construction company founded in 2002 by Marc Porat. Snoop Dogg was actually one of Porat’s first costumers. A product that is now in the market is called EcoRock, a type of drywall. Drywall produces 12 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide each year. These emissions come from the burning required to dry gypsum, grind it, boil it with water, shaping it, and drying it. EcoRock cooks itself through exothermic chemical reactions. Since it needs no heaters, it produces little to no carbon dioxide. It is also stronger, cheaper, and lighter than conventional drywall (Krupp and Horn, 2008).
A quick, little ted talk on EcoRock:
These are just several examples of the many entrepreneurs mentioned in this book that have the potential to change the way we deal with climate change. With new challenges, comes new solutions. With climate change being a complex problem, there are more opportunities for people to share their ideas on ways to solve this problem. Personally, I had only heard of a handful of these companies before reading this book. It is a shame that these companies have big ideas and even developed better, more efficient technology, but are not getting much recognition. Maybe if they did get the recognition they deserve and their products were more integrated into our lives, climate change would be much different than it is today.
Krupp, Fred, and Miriam Horn. Earth, the Sequel: The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming. New York: W.W. Norton, 2008. Print.