Connect with us

Economy

And another thing: the fourth economic revolution is the sustainable revolution

Published

on

There have been three great economic revolutions in human history. Each one has laid solid foundations for the next revolution. I would argue that the foundations have now been firmly laid for the fourth revolution: one that is equally economic, social and environmental.

Two books by the same author had a profound impact on me when I first read them as a graduate in the early nineties. Futurologist Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock (1973) and The Third Wave (1980) were simply mind-blowing. The latter gave me the frontispiece quote for my degree dissertation, describing the newspaper industry as: “the last of the smokestack industries,” about which I was writing.

Toffler’s argument was that these ‘waves’ basically push the older society and culture aside and replace them with the nest wave. Toffler described three waves: agricultural society, industrial society and the post-industrial society. He was incredible prescient in predicting much of what we are experiencing. A more widely known concept are the economic revolutions.

The agricultural revolution/wave began about 13,000 years ago and proceeded at a glacial pace until things picked up a bit in the early 18th century, altering food production, rural communities, and giving rise to urbanisation as fewer people were required on the land. This helped launch…

The industrial revolution/wave which was altogether a little faster. Rising in the late 18th and running up to the First World War, it created a seismic massive shift in the world’s economy, its technology and society. This eventually gave rise to…

The information revolution/wave, which started just after the Second World War and was brought about by advances in computing and communications (many initially created for war). Almost indiscrete in its haste this revolution has given us the tools, technology and data for the next revolution…

The sustainable revolution/wave. With global and democratic communications and massive scientific progress in understanding our climate, we have never been more aware of our impact on the fragile planet we inhabit. This ‘pale blue dot’ is the only planet we’ve got but we treat it more like landfill than our home.

But the information revolution has given us all we need to create a new economy with sustainable growth and prosperity. We now know how to capture the energy of the sun and the tidal effects of the moon to enjoy abundant clean energy. We know how to feed ten billion, never mind the seven who already live here. We know how to get from A to B without ever burning a single fossil. We can communicate instantaneously to any point on earth.

If we all choose to (through dialogue, votes, spending and investment) we can help emerging economies leapfrog the deforestation, biodiversity exploitation and rampant pollution that has marked our own development.

We earnestly hope that COP21 builds the first storey of a sustainable revolution on the foundations of the three preceding revolutions.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

Published

on

By

energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

Continue Reading

Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

Published

on

IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

Trending