A symbiosis of technology and nature
The history of technological progress has been in large part a fight against nature. We’ve developed houses, dams, and medicines to protect ourselves from nature. The industrialization of the last century was largely based on the exploitation of the planet's natural resources to fuel economic growth.
In recent years, it has become clear that we cannot go on like this. This is what the worldwide Earth Day next Friday stands for.
I am convinced that technological progress is the way to avert climate catastrophe and protect our planet—but this won’t happen against or without nature, as this article in Wired makes clear. In the discourse on climate innovation, I sometimes have the impression that we humans think we can fight the climate change we caused on our own.
But saving the climate will only succeed in synergy with nature. Nature already absorbs 50% of our CO2 emissions. The authors of the last IPCC report remind us that "we should be harnessing the carbon-sequestering powers of the planet itself."
Bronson Griscom, Senior Director of Natural Climate Solutions at Conservation International, says: “Nature is sponging up half of our mess. If we were to restore and protect those systems, rather than, frankly, just hammering the hell out of them, it stands to reason that nature can do more—can do quite a bit more.”
I think medicine can be an inspiration here. Our innovations have always been driven by the self-healing powers of (human) nature. We learn from nature. We augment it. But we never ignore it.
Sometimes I wish for more of this mindset in the search for solutions to fight climate change.