It’s Not Easy Being Greener – Or Is It?

Green technology has been in the headlines a bit lately. Some, thanks to the recent G7 meeting held in Cornwall, UK to specifically showcase them as a leader in Green technologies and others because there’s some brilliant developments. One of the G7 agenda items was also global action on climate change. So, with commitments being made to reduce the amount of government investment in coal power and pledging that money towards sustainable technology, we here at PlantingSeeds got a little (read little) excited by the prospect. 

Technology is vital to how we live our lives and is also impacting how we can help pollinators and biodiversity. Our new citizen science initiative with iNaturalist and the CSIRO’s Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) looks to encourage students and schools to make valuable contributions and observations of biodiversity within Sydney. 

By taking photos of plants and pollinators in their school yard students are contributing to a national biobank of species, which can monitor these species throughout Sydney and greater Australia. Our B&B Highways then work within this structure as students and teachers go out to their gardens to make these observations.

Larger scale green technologies could also provide new opportunities to improve environmental issues. One such example was developed in Cornwall, Lagas (meaning eye in Cornish) is an online hub for environmental intelligence linked to live wildlife cameras making environmental data publicly accessible. Lagas, allows for decision makers to view up to date information on at risk habitats, better informing the policies and decisions around that area. 

Similarly, research is going into how Seaweed can improve our environmental impact. Seaweed is a macroalgae which, draws CO2 out of the water and grows at 30 times the rate of other land-based plants. Some research has looked into how seaweed can be used to feed cattle to decrease livestock methane emissions, which reduced methane emissions by 67%. 

Seaweed has also been researched to decrease CO2 while also producing bio-CO2 which has significantly less environmental impact while also being a substitute for natural gas. Seaweed has also been used for a large variety of things such as food, pharmaceuticals, industrial compounds, and fertilisers. With many different uses, seaweed is a great environmental technology which, we are only just discovering how to use.

On a day-to-day scale, there’s also some fantastic new inventions which make introducing green technologies into your home much easier. 

New biodegradable plastics are being invented which break down plastics into carbon dioxide, water or organic material when exposed to microorganisms. However, a lot of these biodegradable plastics take years to break down, but scientists are trying to see how enzymes and higher heats can help reduce this time period. A team of scientists at the University of California, Berkley have found that a new plastic with built in enzymes could be made in a way that is compostable within a fraction of time previous plastics took to compose. Until these new discoveries come out there are however lots of different options for better biodegradable plastics which you can find at your local supermarket.  

Even simple green options are being incorporated into larger tech companies, this is what Google Maps is doing as they roll out their ‘eco-friendly routes’. Google is looking to direct drivers down routes which estimate to produce the least amount of carbon emissions depending on traffic, slopes, and other factors. In times when this would increase the estimated arrival time, Google maps will be offering the option for comparison of CO2 emissions. This offers a great opportunity for individuals to reflect on different travel routes on the basis of environmental impact. 

With green technology growing exponentially it’s important to note that a lot of it is easy to understand and use. Simple technology like citizen science apps and iNaturalist allow people to make scientific observations within their own backyard aiding to the knowledge pool on Australian species. This can dramatically impact decision making as with more information on our environment, policy makers are able to make more accurate and informed decisions not only for humans, but the Earth, it’s pollinators and biodiversity.