I saw Tim Flannery talk last night on his new book ‘Atmosphere of Hope’. It was inspiring and terrifying all wrapped up into an hour of conversation with Tim at a local book shop.

Tim has been an inspiration to us. Confronted by a change in government that stripped environmental programs and literally put Australia on the sustainability (coal driven) back burner, Tim fought to preserve what is now the Climate Council.

The next wave – ‘third way’ technologies

In his new book Tim outlines the climate emergency we are facing. As we approach worst case scenario we can’t rely on our existing approaches to climate change anymore. The new book outlines ‘third way’ innovations, which will need to complement existing approaches. He gave an example of seaweed farming, a process which removes MASSIVE volumes of carbon from the ocean. These technologies restore natural balance.

It made me ponder. Could our buildings be constructed from materials that naturally draw carbon from the atmosphere? Could our roads not only be built from low embodied energy, but act as a carbon sink? Nothing we build should be static, it should be dynamic and working to remove greenhouse gases.

Universities and STEM in schools

When asking Tim about the role of universities he commented that they need to be ‘unshackled’. The reliance for researchers on grant funding and recognition through citations is fundamentally flawed. Journal article publications are important, but these are not going to save us.

Tim also spoke about STEM in schools and that climate change is downplayed in curriculum. We still need to inspire kids about their future, whilst also teaching about these types of ‘third way’ technologies to encourage the next generation of industry innovation. We will look at including this in our Low Carbon Schools program.

The future

If we keep going like this our kids won’t get to see the world we have today. Climate change is happening, and it is not going away on its own. It’s up to each and every one of us to support industry and innovation, look to our own businesses and find the opportunities. What do you think the world will look like in 2050?