It's all very well sitting at home under the gloomy light of your ecofriendly lightbulbs, but realistically, there's only so much one person can achieve. Governments need to step up their efforts to combat global warming and here is quick look at some of the exciting eco projects that aspire to give us a better future.
Preserving the planet for future generations
In light of recent events, it may seem like world leaders have turned their backs on the planet to pursue more immediate national interests. Preserving the environment for future generations is no easy task, especially when there are so many temptations. There is land to be fracked, coal to burn, oil in the ground to drill and farmland to be built (if we just cut down that forest first). But, if we all greedily act upon these individualist and selfish desires, there will soon be nothing left to take. This point of no return is fast approaching. But, there is still hope. At the recent G20 summit, while the US president cut a solitary figure, world leaders were united in their comittment to tackle their carbon emissions. Here is a look at a few of their creative and innovative environmental projects...
Paris Velib System
The ?Velib' was launched in the French capital back in 2007 making it one of the first cities to introduce a bike sharing scheme. There are around 14,500 bicycles and 1,230 bicycle stations across the capital and in its first year of operation 20 million trips were made. The name ?Vélib' is a mix of the words 'vélo' meaning bicycle and 'liberté' meaning freedom. Today, bike sharing systems have been introduced across Europe but the Paris Vélib remains the largest such initiative outside of China.
The Dutch have gone one step further by encouraging cycling and promoting green energy. In 2014, they built a cycle path made of solar panels. After the first six months, the path attracted more than 150,000 riders, and produced over 3,000 kilowatt-hours of energy. To put it in perspective, that's enough to power a home for a year. Solar panel farms use up valuable space in densely populated countries, so this is a good solution for tackling the space issue. It has been a huge success. There are now plans to build the paths elsewhere and other European countries are looking into building solar paneled motorways as well.
?Gardens by the Bay' is a redevelopment nature project which was completed in 2012. The park is a manmade forest with towering trees up to 50 meters high and covering a total distance of 250 acres. The landscaping project at Marina Bay has 18 mechanical supertrees. They are interlaced with more than 150,000 living plants and some of the trees also have solar panels. They generate solar power, clean the air and collect rainwater. The futuristic trees are also a popular tourist destination and welcomed their 20 millionth guest back in 2014.
If a garden doesn't seem enough to combat air pollution then you will be happy to know that China is building a 'Forest City'. Air pollution is a serious issue around the world, especially in China. A study by the Health Effects Institute based in Boston found that the toxic smog has contributed to over 1 million early deaths. This ambitious project will see the construction of schools, offices, hotels, hospitals, and homes covered in plants, trees and solar panels. The city will absorb 10,000 tons of CO2 per year and produce 900 tons of oxygen per year. The government is aiming to complete the project by 2020.
China is leading the way on solar panels; this year saw the completion of the world's biggest solar farm in the Anhui province in the east. It can provide enough energy to power 15,000 homes. In Datong in the north, designers have taken a more creative approach to solar panel design. China Merchants New Energy Group, one of the country's largest clean energy providers, have this month built a 248 acre solar farm in the shape of the country's favourite animal, a giant panda. Over the next 25 years, it will reduce the country's dependence on coal and reduce carbon emissions by 2.74 million tons. China is the biggest contributor to global warming and studies show that it accounts for over 20 percent of all global CO2 emissions. So, while it's not winning the greenest country award any time soon, they deserve recognition for their efforts to reduce emissions.