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Has the Solution to Global Warming Finally Arrived?

 Algae, which serve as a primary food supply for fish and a central ingredient in countless cuisines, are fundamental species in the fight against global warming and plastic pollution today. (Photo by Science in HD on Unsplash)

In 2019, The Guardian released an article highlighting twenty influential companies that account for a third of carbon dioxide and methane emissions. If only twenty companies can account for such significant pollution levels, could we assume that all businesses together are liable for at least half of the pollution levels? It is no secret that the fundamental change for a healthier world begins with corporations approaching their work with a more sustainable mindset, especially as climate change is a noticeable dilemma this year.

In Germany, around 200 people died due to devastating floods. Over 30 people also died in floods in China. Since the beginning of the year, the USA has faced a different villain: heatwaves have killed almost 200 people and started 36,610 wildfires around the country, increasing by 79% compared to the corresponding period in 2020.

The uncontrollable climate change and global warming have brought worry to people around the world. With the enormous volume of waste polluting the waters, animals dying due to unpredictable and unstable weather conditions, air pollution generating countless health problems, and animals and people losing their homes due to the rise of water levels, it is now that we demand solutions and a change from our biggest polluters: businesses. There is a myriad of ways a company can succeed in diminishing emissions and waste; an upcoming new idea is the use of algae. 

The algae market is relatively new and recently started growing at a tremendous pace. It has shown remarkable outcomes in the pharmaceutical and agricultural industry, and recently entered the sector of sustainability. The market has been estimated to grow by 24-28% by 2050. Algae have recently been employed to fight against plastic pollution, air pollution, and other critical dangers of today. In Val d’Elsa, located in Tuscany, Italy, Natur Essence’s start-up makes the best use of algae.

The organization collects algae that are later stored in closed pods with access to mineral salts and Co2, its primary food source. The algae are then placed in factories or abandoned facilities to absorb Co2 and release oxygen in exchange; such a system helps reduce Co2 levels and factories’ air pollution. Thanks to the innovative technological pods, the algae are low maintenance as they are rendered the necessary environment to survive. The utilization of algae can bring immense benefits to businesses and, most notably, the environment. 

The global demand for plastic materials has harmed marine life and human beings. The uncontrollable production of plastic leaves no time to develop a legitimate silver bullet. Of course, recycling was fabricated to help reduce waste; however, like incineration and chemical treatments, it has not been the optimum solution.

In the Netherlands, researchers designed algae bioplastic to be adopted as a replacement for plastic. The plant-based product requires roughly two months to decompose due to self-made enzymes that trigger decomposition. The cost of appropriating algae bioplastic is high; however, for some companies such as Nestle, with a net worth of more than 270 billion (dollars), and Coca-Cola, with a net worth of 230 billion, it is a feasible replacement.

Influential corporations are liable for today’s changes; however, this does not mean we do not hold faults as single individuals. It is essential that individuals do their part by substituting plastic packaged goods with sustainably packaged goods, consuming locally, and using other transportation methods such as public transports, bikes, or even walking when feasible to reduce carbon footprint. The behavior will force companies to address a more sustainable practice when society prioritizes the planet over-familiar goods.

To conclude, the algae market possesses the exceptional potential and will face considerable maturity; more and more people are investing in the sector thanks to its vast benefits in countless industries. Companies worldwide should work towards implementing algae in their business to reduce carbon emission or plastic waste, or even both. Algae have been a great discovery in today’s century as the need to reform is imperative.

Editor’s Note

Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report saying the effects of climate change will be irreversible for the next few centuries and is unequivocally caused by human activity. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The report highlights human responsibility for record heat waves, droughts, more intense storms and other extreme weather events seen around the world in recent years.”

Climate change will undoubtedly be the issue that defines our modern political atmosphere and will be a testimony to our willingness to put aside political maneuvering in the face of catastrophe. While this report is significantly backed by science and data, it is certainly not a revelation to admit that climate change is caused by humans or to say that its impacts are irreversible. If this presidential administration should be known for anything, it should be turning the tide against fossil fuels to transition to a greener future with reduced carbon emissions. At least that much should be agreed upon.

Ethan Kim edited this article.

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