A recent article in The Guardian seems highly relevant to my recent series on Global Mega Trends so I thought I would share it with some thoughts. The fact that it takes a positive view is also a good thing as we must believe in our ability to reduce and adapt to climate change in order for us to do so.
The article, by Environment Editor Damian Carrington, highlights six trends moving in the positive direction: a shift from meat; renewable energy; decline in coal; electric cars; batteries; and efficiency along with one that is still moving in the wrong direction: deforestation.
My first thought is on changing diets, and the reducing environmental footprint, particularly methane emissions, resulting from our meat-based diets. The article establishes that alternatives are increasing rapidly for example milk-alternatives now make up 10% of the market in America. Whilst this is impressive, and entrepreneur heavy-weights such as Richard Branson are in agreement, I wonder whether this trends will be enough to surpass the global population trends currently underway. Will this shift offset a population of 10.9 billion by 2100? Will the increasing middle classes of China, India and elsewhere skip the Western consumer habits?
My second comment is on the trends utilising technology in the article, particularly Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Batteries. This has been very topical and of late the opportunities for battery storage in homes and to modulate grids is very promising. My concern is that less thought is going into the natural resources that are going into these technologies, specifically how they can be recycled. For example the lithium-ion batteries supporting much of this are largely not recycled at present. This is proving challenging both as a result of the surge in battery production and the great variety of manufacturing processes used making it harder to invest in recycling of the various types of battery. In order for these technologies to deliver on their promises and prove sustainable, this is the time to really consider the longer view.
The full article can be found at the below link: