A shot of hope in the face of climate despair

A shot of hope in the face of climate despair
Sunrise at Beachmere, Queensland. Credit: Mark Wasser/Flickr

Hope, like a slinky, springs eternal. While rage, fear and disgust are all appropriate responses to the realities of climate change (which we have explored extensively this week), we must move from despair to action.

Fortunately, many courageous and dedicated people have spent decades chipping away at the persistent problems that plague us, and The Conversation has been publishing their results for years. As an antidote to despair, here is just a small sampling from our archives of radical solutions, practical remedies and solid action plans. We have the tools we need—now we have to use them.

Transport

Australia is unique in the developed world in not having minimum fuel efficiency standards. Introducing one three years ago could have saved Australian households $1 billion in fuel costs, as well as taken a hefty bite out of our total carbon dioxide emissions.

Instead, let's follow New Zealand's plan to introduce clean car standards and incentives to cut emissions.

Cars are only part of the transport picture. Here are four ways Australian cities can reduce their emissions in a hurry: avoid endless urban sprawl, help people shift to lower-emission options, share our cars and improve what we already have. Finally, we're not going to get electric planes any time soon but that doesn't mean low-carbon flights aren't in the future.

Agriculture

After transport, agriculture is the largest contributor to global emissions. But we don't have to persuade cows not to fart: we could feed them seaweed instead. Speaking of seaweed, farming giant kelp in the ocean can reduce ocean acidity, help delicious shellfish grow, reduce carbon in the air and also produce a biofuel that further reduces emissions if you use it instead of fossil fuels. Seaweed! What can't it do?

A shot of hope in the face of climate despair
Electric vehicles are key to decarbonising the transport sector. Credit: Flickr

If seaweed-fed cows don't tickle your fancy, skip the cow and go right to a plant-based diet. Here's a breakdown of how much land we need to grow enough plant protein to feed the world. The conclusion? Tricky, but doable.

A plant-based diet doesn't mean you don't have to give up being a carnivore altogether. Increasingly a "flexitarian" approach is gaining traction, with some research recommending a diet for planetary health that includes small amounts of meat.

Energy

Of course, getting on an electric train to go get a meat-free burger before firing up your laptop to work remotely is only low-carbon if the electricity powering everything is clean.

While Australia is something of a black hole on federal energy policy (all but the most meek of measures vanish under crushing pressure), everyone else from businesses to researchers to the states and community groups have been beavering away for decades.

In fact, we could make Australia a renewable energy exporting superpower. We're astonishingly well-placed to run our own country on renewables as well, with research identifying 22,000 viable sites for pumped hydro energy storage. (If you're not clear on pumped hydro, here are five gifs we prepared earlier.)

And while our increasingly makes us more inclined to switch on the aircon, ironically exacerbating the whole problem, smart home design can keep us cool.

Better design in general is part of the puzzle: we already have viable plans for making livable, low-carbon cities.

And lest you think all these solutions are only achievable with a totalitarian regime imposing top-down solutions, think again. One of my favorite pieces of research this year explores how China succeeds in greening its economy despite, not because of, its authoritarian government.


Explore further

Study tests whether seaweed in cattle feed reduces emissions

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Sep 20, 2019
The time has come for us to bash-in the windows of industrialists -- and afterwards, their faces.

Sep 20, 2019
A lot of stupidity in the face of climate ignorance.

There, headline fixed.

But we don't have to persuade cows not to fart: we could feed them seaweed instead.

Stupid cows, not only did they leave the wonderful oceans and all them delicious, fart suppressing seaweed, behind. They lost their flippers and now must walk around with bare hooves.
Hey, Chicken Littles, want to know the best way to suppress cow farts?
Pull your head out of your ass and go stick it up theirs.


Sep 20, 2019
What is the alternative to agriculture?

Sep 21, 2019
Almost as funny as antigoracle's solution to cow farts is this:

And lest you think all these solutions are only achievable with a totalitarian regime imposing top-down solutions, think again.

Pretty much all of the "solutions" proposed by climate alarmists are impractical. And unpopular. Thus a top-down approach is the only mechanism to implement them.

Sep 21, 2019
So, @assdad, how's your water up there with the drought and all?

Any of those fires get near you?

Welcome to the real world. In 20 years you'll be under drought restrictions every summer, and you better live in the city or you won't get fire insurance.

And since you're not investing in renewables you'll be just about out of money. It's not like there's a bunch of high paying jobs up there.

Good luck with all that! :D And thanks for all the money.

Sep 21, 2019
Da Schneid
?

Weather son, weather.

Only idiots despair.

Even the Late Paleocene Thermal Maximum - +8 C for 20,000 years, didn't end the world.
Nor did the Holocene Thermal Maximum - +2 C which lasted 4000 years.

you boobs can just shut your silly mouths.

Sep 21, 2019
The AGWites didn't seem to get the message from the head of the IPCC to turn down their fanatical attempts at psychological terrorism.

Sep 21, 2019
I read the bunch of climate science articles this week in the wrong order: precisely the climate, conspiracy theory argument of "only achievable with a totalitarian regime imposing top-down solutions" was made in an earlier thread!

Speaking of conspiracy theory:

The time has come for us to bash-in the windows of industrialists -- and afterwards, their faces.


So we should turn on those that by driving efficiencies and new markets has made us transit from coal towards wind (and water, as in the article)? Thanks, but no thanks - especially no thanks to your uncalled for threats of violence, those have no room in a civilized debate.

Sep 21, 2019
@aksdad.
Pretty much all of the "solutions" proposed by climate alarmists are impractical. And unpopular. Thus a top-down approach is the only mechanism to implement them.
What planet have you been living on over the last ten years or so, mate? It's precisely because there have been precious little top-down policies by govts that individuals and commercial companies have been installing renewables to provide for their cheaper more secure energy needs. Your 'spiels' are patently based on 'spiels' from the usual vested interests via campaigns using troll-factory 'weaponised stupids' and 'bots' to repeat their drivel on internet sites. Haven't you any sense at all? Or is the 'thirty pieces of silver' from the usual suspects paying your rent? Wake up and check the reality evolving under your nose; if not for your own sake then for the sake of your family/friends and future generations who will pay a dear price for your and your current handlers' ill-gotten profits/power. Wake up.

Sep 21, 2019
What planet have you been living on over the last ten years or so, mate? It's precisely because there have been precious little top-down policies by govts that individuals and commercial companies have been installing renewables to provide for their cheaper more secure energy needs.

Oh @RC, what cesspool of ignorance have you been hiding in, your entire existence, mate? Across the globe, people are being forced by their govts to pay exorbitant prices for unreliable renewables, because they have to be backed by reliable fossil fuel sources. Float up from your cesspool and check the stench under your nose...blah..blah..blah... Float up. :)

Sep 21, 2019
@antigoracle.
What planet have you been living on over the last ten years or so, mate? It's precisely because there have been precious little top-down policies by govts that individuals and commercial companies have been installing renewables to provide for their cheaper more secure energy needs.
Oh @RC, what cesspool of ignorance have you been hiding in, your entire existence, mate? Across the globe, people are being forced by their govts to pay exorbitant prices for unreliable renewables, because they have to be backed by reliable fossil fuel sources. Float up from your cesspool and check the stench under your nose..
Those politicians/govts for too long delayed/fronted for the vested interests who sabotaged all efforts at making renewables cheaper. Hence why many individuals/commercial organisations are increasingly 'doing it for themselves', because the fossil lobby has sabotaged needed action/policies for so long. The tide is turning. You're toast, @antigoracle. :)

Sep 21, 2019
So @RC, if you are gonna stay in your cesspool of ignorance, at least take your crazy suppression meds. :)

Sep 21, 2019
@antigoracle.
So @RC, you are staying in your cesspool of ignorance. :)
Enjoy gagging with shame in your industrial-strength cesspool of 'weaponised' stupidity-and-malice, mate. If you should survive that sordid phase of your life/work, then I wish you good luck finding a less stinky job when your 'thirty pieces of silver' runs out. :)

Sep 22, 2019
Oh @RC, if only I had your talent, taste and pride in willingly swallowing the AGW Cult's turds. Just the thought of having to do that, makes me want to gag to death. I wish you luck in your stinky delights, well until the Cult's turds runs out. :)

Sep 22, 2019
@antigoracle.
Oh @RC, if only I had your talent, taste and pride in willingly swallowing the AGW Cult's turds. Just the thought of having to do that, makes me want to gag to death. I wish you luck in your stinky delights, well until the Cult's turds runs out. :)
You should talk, mate! Your denialist-troll turds are not only exceedingly gag-worthy, but also a public-health hazard, in more ways than one. Its a lucky thing for the public that you 'weaponised stupids' have been busily eating your own turds; and later regurgitating it all up as 'stupid fertiliser' at the troll-factory where they 'farm' losers like you. Watch the 'fin rot'(*), @antigoracle!

(*) With thanks to @granville583762, for his troll-under-damp-bridge 'fin rot' motif (the royalty cheque is in the mail, @gran). :)

Sep 22, 2019
@cantdrive85.
The AGWites didn't seem to get the message from the head of the IPCC to turn down their fanatical attempts at psychological terrorism.
You are making yourself sound silly and irrelevant to humanity's future, mate. Stick to things you understand and can be constructive in. Good luck. :)

Sep 22, 2019
@cantdrive85.
The AGWites didn't seem to get the message from the head of the IPCC to turn down their fanatical attempts at psychological terrorism.
You are making yourself sound silly and irrelevant to humanity's future, mate. Stick to things you understand and can be constructive in. Good luck. :)

@RC
Nice try, making yourself sound smart, and thus relevant to psychiatry's future, mate. Stick to your meds. Good luck. :)

Sep 22, 2019
@antigoracle.
@cantdrive85.
The AGWites didn't seem to get the message from the head of the IPCC to turn down their fanatical attempts at psychological terrorism.
You are making yourself sound silly and irrelevant to humanity's future, mate. Stick to things you understand and can be constructive in. Good luck. :)

@RC
Nice try, making yourself sound smart, and thus relevant to psychiatry's future, mate. Stick to your meds. Good luck. :)
Pity your own lack of self-awareness precludes you benefiting form your own 'advice', mate. Never mind; your weaponised stupidity and malevolence is irrelevant now; and your further descent into self-made insensibility will be no loss to humanity. Pity.

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