Energy issues are increasingly in the press, and politicians are under more pressure than ever to find solutions to our planet’s finite resources, increasing population (and one that is living longer) and the inability to reconcile the costs of ‘going green.’ Luckily a new generation of engineers and entrepreneurs are being trained at top schools, and are eager, to deal with the things that policymakers won’t – namely effective alternatives to a rapidly changing landscape of energy requirements.
Recently, British powerhouse mogul Richard Branson was reported to be sponsoring a twenty-five million dollar purse, called Virgin Earth Challenge, to the group of researchers, academics or scientists that could implement the most cost effective carbon capture storage (CCS) idea and make it financially viable for industries to use. Likewise, technical universities in Scandinavia, the U.S., China and India are in an unspoken race to find new, more successful innovations for smart grid power systems, wireless communications and sustainable urban developments. Having done some reportage work in a few of Sweden’s top technical institutions, it’s inspiring and encouraging to see how these new developments might actually save us from ourselves. The inherent pessimism of the idea that humans won’t change their lifestyle habits to meet environmental requirements is anesthetized slightly by those same humans developing ever-more clever ways to keep us afloat.
Tired of waiting for the lawmakers to stop pontificating and procrastinating, businessmen and celebrities like Branson, Bill Gates, and even Leonardo DiCaprio are grabbing the opportunity to facilitate change. These are the vocal and visual minority of positive philanthropy, but behind the scenes the hard work of technological advancements are taking place more rapidly than ever. This is the new scientific frontier – the vanguard – and they’re here to save us, because the time for waiting is over.