Monday, August 8

Don’t turn off the air yet

Technology made large populations possible; now large populations make technology indispensable

Joseph krutch

“Maybe in Spain we can’t use the air conditioning so much,” said the former senator, and the networks became inflamed enough to cause several of those devices to turn on. Beyond the specific controversy, I am shocked by the clash of two positions so irredeemable as, in reality, I think there is a lack of information in both. Some believe, with good reason, that the damage we are doing to the planet is unsustainable and propose to reverse, as seemed to be the case of Ramón Espinar. Others, those who harass him, do not believe in the irreversible damage of our activity or in its consequences and, therefore, become unnerved and try to ridicule his attitude. Battles lost, because I think the compass points to another north.

The situation of imminent danger to which we are leading the planet does not admit of discussion, but I think that proposing as a primary solution is to withdraw and reverse (get back on the bike, turn off the air, eat less meat, forget about traveling) produces a lot of misunderstanding And, furthermore, forget that perhaps the solution to the damage caused by our technologies is to go forward, to use the human mind again to try to maintain our well-being and increase that of the rest of the peoples of the earth without causing irreparable damage or, even, repairing those that have already been made. Not less technology but more technology and better. Avoid ending up as in Turner’s ” Las Torres del Olvido ” -and look what a novel I recommend for this summer- and get closer to a clean and efficient utopia that we will have created, as we have done with vaccines, providing the best from us to our worst problems.

The point is to move forward in a sustainable way and I believe that this is the endeavor that the European Union is implementing with these funds, which are both lifesavers from the crisis and a turning point. They tell us too much about the serious problems we have and sometimes too little about how thousands of brains pool their efforts to find solutions.

These days I was reading about the thousand solutions that the Solar Impulse Foundation, by Bertrand Piccard, has identified to walk in that direction. I have only selected a few of them, to show that there is a path of hope beyond the path of deprivation. A Dutch NGO has developed a barge of the future, a plastic barge, since they have realized that 80% of the plastics that choke the oceans come from the discharges of a thousand perfectly identified rivers. So they have thought that it was better to capture the plastics before they reach the seas. And there they are, already in Malaysia and Indonesia, traveling rivers with the plastic barge that packs them in containers that are easy to remove from the ship and send to recycling plants. The barge is powered by solar energy, of course.

Or we have the case of projects to increase vegetation in large cities to alleviate the effects of increased temperature due to climate change. In Spain we are fortunate to have large metropolitan trees but, if not, in France they have designed a kind of mobile undergrowth, in which columns of one square meter of support support up to 50 square meters of vegetation and that can be displaced from From one place to another. They are already installed in Toulouse.

They have also detected a system developed by an Israeli star-up that has managed to use the kinetic energy of the sea -Eco Wave Power- to provide electricity service to urbanizations and towns located on the coast and they do so by taking advantage of the installation of piers, breakwaters or systems. Existing ports and piers, so that no further construction or intervention is required. So you can put the air.

For residual contamination in soils – from multiple causes, mining, oil, intensive agriculture – the Belgians have implemented recovery systems through mushrooms, to use the ability of fungi to purify molecules from the soil in which they grow. And even the multinational Procter and Gamble has developed a system to recycle and purify one hundred percent of propylenes, one of the plastics that we use the most and whose recycling is still deficient due to the color and odor results obtained.

These are just a few examples. The luxury industry is also testing in Paris with the mixture of tungsten with gold to achieve jewelry with a lower carbon footprint and the same characteristics of resistance, shine and durability. It will be frivolous but it is still another example of the existing effort to improve the sustainability of our habits and industries without having to think about the final image of the planet of the apes.

That foundation has detected and studied up to a thousand ideas like these and others are in the process of searching for and financing similar processes. Maybe what we need is a little hope and a lot of support to all those researchers and scientists and people with ideas who are willing to do their bit for the future well-being of humanity. Something more committed than wanting to go off to Mars like Musk.

It is even possible to believe that the disasters of our technology can be reversed with more technology.

Don’t turn off the air yet. Who knows where the winds are going to come from very soon if we are able to open our minds… and the financing portfolio.