FACING CLIMATE CHANGE
Many of us think global warming does not impact us or will not in our lifetime. We are wrong! In an article found in Harvard Business Review, Andrew Winston states “To avoid some of the most devastating impacts of climate change, the world must slash carbon emissions by 45% by 2030.” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has also warned us that we have roughly 12 years to get global warming under control before we face a catastrophic outcome. Unfortunately, emissions are still rising.
GROWING NUMBER OF NATURAL DISASTERS
In 2020, natural disasters were globally reported to be the most catastrophic and costly year on record. Wildfires destroyed unique ecosystems and over 158 million acres in the extended Amazon region. The fires spread from Argentina to Colombia and Venezuela, an area more than two times the size of Belgium. Wildfires have caused fatal damage along the west coast of the United States, leaving large areas of barren land behind. In addition to the wildfires, 2020 saw record breaking floods, droughts, storms, mudslides, tornados, and high temperatures.
Along with the record-breaking natural disasters, oceans have warmed, causing snow and ice to melt and sea levels to rise. The average sea level is predicted to rise 24-30 cm by 2065 and 40-63cm by 2100. This rise puts several coastal European countries at risk of being lost by the end of the century.
INTEGRATION OF THE ECOSYSTEM IN ENGINEERING
Emissions are continuing to rise; global warming is not under control. Climate change can no longer be addressed at the individual level. This issue must be addressed by communities, and the businesses in the communities. We need to work together to create long term solutions from an ecosystem integration level.
What do I mean? LHP Europe works with Environmental engineers who specialize in ecological restoration and environmental sciences. These engineers assist with the research, design, test, validation, and implementation of our products. This ensures we understand our product’s impact to the entire ecosystem, from development to obsolescence.
“ECO-FRIENDLY” OR NOT?
There are a variety of “eco-friendly” products in existence that do not consider their impact on the entire ecosystem. First, hybrid and electric vehicles. These types of vehicles reduce liquid fuel consumption and gaseous emissions. However, there is limited renewable energy available. Because of this, utility companies must generate significant amounts of CO2 to create electricity. Second example is the mining of Lithium to support batteries. Limited recycling of these end-of-life batteries lead to potential landfill pollution. Third example is solar panels. Solar panels are installed anywhere from large cities and towns to small rural areas. The panels installed in areas already disturbed by human construction have no negative impact on plant life. However, in rural areas with less human construction, solar panels tend to burn the surrounding ground, killing off plant life that would otherwise help offset CO2.
A solution is to sow indigenous plants around the base of the panels. The newly sown plants would allow us to increase the level of plants and/or prairie grasses, providing the additional benefit of CO2 absorption from the air.
Prairie grasses can absorb approximately 1 metric ton of CO2 per acre. Imagine what a windmill farm surrounded by prairie grasses could do for CO2 absorption and a natural wildlife habitat!
Perhaps you are a Civil Engineering company leading a project to build an autobahn or bridge with standard cement waterway. Consider the idea of having native plants instead of cement for the drainage and waterways. Cement accounts for 8% of Global CO2 emissions and has a significant impact on the pollutants that enter the ocean. Whereas, native plants are a natural filter that have served the earth since the dawn of its existence. Why not learn from nature? Native plants absorb CO2, while reducing cement usage decreases CO2 impact. We must evaluate and consider the whole ecosystem as we drive towards sustainability.
Born from the automotive industry, LHP Europe has deep roots in product development and executive leadership knowledge from years of experience working with fortune 100 companies. At LHP Europe, our passion and commitment is to make a positive impact on the environment. We are continuously losing some of earths most precious ecosystems. Humanity must realize that once we cause the collapse of a small ecosystem, it will not come back. The concern is not only for the earth, but for humanity itself. We inherited the earth from our ancestors, we need to return it to the generations that follow better than when we received it. Let us start with healing the communities in which we live.
Remember, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates we only have 12 years to turn things around. We no longer have time to say, “environmental changes do not impact me”. It is time to step up, take initiative and be the leaders who make a difference.
Written by: Marylynn Glass – President and COO of LHP Europe