There are no silver bullets to address climate change, and the damage we’re doing to the environment. It’s a total system we’re impacting and the necessary responses are equally broad.
Consumers, businesses, regulators and governments all have a role to play.
So does science.
Picking on plastic – because that’s a favourite thing of mine to pick on – here are just a few examples of the ways science may be able to provide solutions to address our plastic problem:
- The development of a new manufacturing process for a chemical used in plastics to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions produced by current manufacturing techniques.
- The discovery of a bacterium to break down PET plastics for more efficient and more sustainable recycling
- The development of more sustainable alternatives to current plastics.
The order of these 3 examples is deliberate. Reducing damage is a good start, but still not sufficient. Having new, more efficient, and more susppptainable ways to recycle is good, but deals with the symptom not the cause. With current food supply chains (for example), plastic is difficult to replace, and changing those supply chains is tough, so effective, sustainable replacements for plastic would be a great tool.
Alongside other efforts, outcomes of scientific research will play an important role in our collective efforts to address climate change and other key environmental issues.