Out now: The Environment Spring 2024

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Energy & Climate Change, Management & Regulation, Natural Environment, Water Resources

Smart solutions

GIVEN THE SCALE of the various environmental crises that are currently gripping the planet, and the slow pace of political and social change when it comes to things like cutting carbon emissions, slowing (let along stopping) the loss of biodiversity and reforming our agriculture systems, it’s becoming increasingly clear that we’re going to have to rely heavily on the power of human ingenuity to get us out of this particularly sticky situation.

With that in mind, in this issue of The Environment, we focus on innovation – on the approaches, mindsets, policies, practices and technological breakthroughs that have the potential to help us all to deliver the cleaner, greener, more biodiverse future that everyone wants to see.

We look to Iceland, which turned to geothermal sources for its energy needs decades ago and has managed to significantly de-carbonise its economy, to the point where it’s now exporting its expertise. What lessons can the rest of us learn from this tiny island on the far edge of Europe?

One of the areas in which Iceland is leading the way is carbon capture and storage (CCS). All around the world, including in the UK, governments are putting CCS at the heart of their net-zero plans, but will the technology ever be economically and practically viable? Or is it just a smokescreen behind which government and industry hope to hide? We asked two experts to set out the case for and against.

Speaking of technology, we also asked sustainability business leader and author Marga Hoek which three ‘tech for good’ innovations have convinced her that a cleaner, greener future is possible.

When it comes to sustainable drainage systems, the first choice is often a nature-based solution, but as Jo Bradley points out, innovative sub-surface manufactured devices can also play an important role in improving how we handle urban runoff and give nature a helping hand.

And just how do we go about reforming our agricultural systems while maintaining food security? Sustainable Food Trust co-founder Patrick Holden has a few innovative ideas to share with us.

In this issue we also present the details of A Fresh Water Future, CIWEM’s ‘water manifesto’. But, as policy director Alastair Chisholm points out, this is one area that’s less about innovation and more about simply convincing our political classes to do the things that we’ve known all along that we need to do.

Geordie Torr is an experienced photojournalist and editor who covers science, the environment and travel. He has worked on staff for Australian Geographic, Newton, Geographical and National Geographic Traveller, and his work has also appeared in the Australian, BBC Wildlife, Nature Australia, Out and About with Kids, Jetstar Magazine, Dive and Geographical Expeditions.

He is also a co-founder of family-travel website Familyinabackpack.com and the wine aggregator Wine-portal.co.uk.

The Spring issue of The Environment was sent exclusively to all CIWEM members on 28/02/24.

Browse free articles from The Environment here.

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