On this blog I usually pick a Person of the Year, and/or a Technology of the Year. Globally, and in the UK, the political landscape looks bleak. Leadership is coming from the street, from academia and from entrepreneurial start-up companies.
As I did last year, this year Greta Thunberg is undoubtedly my person of the year. She is an extraordinarily articulate leader who has inspired millions of people to engage with the realities of Climate Change. Many of the young climate protesters are truly remarkable individuals, making their voices heard despite many challenges, especially in China, Russia and other countries where the police routinely harass protesters. Greta speaks for many people, both young and old, me included.
Mark Z Jacobson leads a team of academics and researchers at Stanford University in California. They produce, and continually update, a possible route-map to 100% renewable forms of energy, for all countries and for all purposes, including electricity, transportation, heating/cooling and for industry. Their plans are workable, costed, and jobs lost and gained are taken into consideration. A book titled ‘100% Clean, Renewable Energy and Storage for Everything’ is due for publication this spring, and many draft sections are available to read.
On this blog I’ve not written about food, farming, diets and land use as much as I should have. Over the next few months I’ll write about a number of the best examples of sustainable land use. Holland is remarkable in that it is a small densely populated country, yet manages to be the second largest agricultural exporter in the World. A long article in National Geographic points to how this was achieved and the important role of Wageningen University and Research, which has spun out dozens of tiny agricultural start-up businesses pioneering new ways to grow more food, more sustainably, with lower inputs of chemicals, energy and water. I’ll post a blog shortly about this.