Tech Talk

Green Tech for All


Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. Humanity is being tested, and it’s not looking very good for us. According to the first climate progress report card from COP28, or the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (say that three times fast), we are failing to meet our current climate goals, miserably, I might add, and to the detriment of everyone and everything on this planet.

It’s almost impossible to deny what’s happening. We have smashed many of the previous all-time temperature records around the world, catastrophic wildfires are increasing in frequency and intensity, devastating floods are making large swaths of our planet unlivable, glaciers are melting at a record pace, and heat waves are killing people and animals around the globe.

At this point, I have very little hope that humanity will be able to slow down climate change, much less roll back the clock. Climate change, and the tragedies that will inevitably come along with it, are looming large for all of us and for future generations. Amidst all this doom and gloom, what can we humans do?

We can adapt.

Big things are happening in green technology, and they are happening across almost every sector. We’re seeing scientists, engineers and business leaders working together to develop and deploy innovations for everything from clean energy to improved farming practices, refined recycling and waste management processes.

Some of the most interesting green tech innovations have to do with salt-water desalination that’s powered by solar or wind energy. These machines generate safe, affordable drinking water from the ocean through reverse osmosis, all without the use of fossil fuels.

Work is also being done around vertical farming and hydroponics. These technologies will revolutionize the way we grow food. Vertical farming is focused on space optimization by growing plants indoors and stacking them upward in columns. Growing in a climate-controlled environment means consistent production and high-quality food in limited space, even when the weather conditions outside are less than ideal.

This type of farming in urban areas has the added benefit of eliminating the need for long-distance shipping.

And then there’s the electric vehicle revolution. I drive an electric car. Not only does my household benefit by saving a ton of money on fuel, but I output zero emissions while I’m running my errands. Yes, there is a lot of debate around the production process (it’s not that different from other cars) and battery life (they already last longer than the manufacturers expected), but most of the data I’ve seen shows that the positives outweigh the negatives, especially given the current climate situation.

What about food waste? It turns out, food waste in landfills is a significant contributor to greenhouse gases, methane in particular. I don’t know about you, but we’ve struggled with how to manage our food waste. In Tacoma, we could throw our food waste into our compost bin. That’s not an option for us out here on the Key. My family considered creating a compost pile, but we didn’t want to attract rodents to our property. Not to mention, we aren’t super great about maintenance, and a compost pile requires maintenance.

To help us solve this challenge, we got an indoor composter, and let me tell you, this thing is magical. It dries and pulverizes most food waste. There is no smell, it’s quiet, and it uses about as much electricity as one load of dishes in the dishwasher. We can use the resulting compost in our garden, or we can send it back to the company (with carbon offsets) and they will turn our food waste into chicken feed.

None of this tech is going to solve our climate problems on its own, we’re going to need many more solutions to help us survive in a warming world. But when we combine the existing innovations with all the new ones that are on the horizon, I think we’ll have a pretty good chance. And maybe, just maybe, at some point in the future, we’ll learn our lesson.

April Godwin is an IT specialist. She lives in Lakebay.