For the last few years on this blog I’ve chosen a person and/or a technology to celebrate as the Person of the Year or Technology of the Year. I try and highlight ideas, people and technologies that might help humanity move to a better future, where climate breakdown is averted, mass species extinction halted and where people can live in a peaceful and prosperous manner, without wrecking the planet in the process.
The hydrogen fuel cell is my technology of the year. Lots of companies and research programmes have made important progress over the last twelve months, and many of them I’ve written about. In September I posted two blogs on the subject, here and here, and one in March.
We have the science that informs us we must combat climate change and the technologies to do so. Our planet is dominated by politicians who don’t want to understand the dangers or learn about better ways of doing things. Carbon emissions rose last year, when the science tells us they need to be falling fast.
The biggest and most positive thing to happen over this last year has been the emergence of a new generation of climate activists. In August the 15 year old Swede Greta Thunberg started her school climate strikes, taking every Friday off school to protest outside the Swedish Parliament. Her tweets and videos have gone viral and young people in hundreds of cities around the World have joined her in going on school climate strikes. In October Extinction Rebellion launched its programme of non violent direct action in London, and it too has rapidly become a global phenomena. Linked with these street based activist movements has been the growth of political movements advocating radical action on climate breakdown. In October I blogged about Green Parties gaining ground in elections in Luxembourg, Belgium and Bavaria, and during most of November and December most of my blogs have been about the growth of this climate activism, especially with the emergence of the Sunrise movement, the Justice Democrats and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez since the American Midterm elections in November. In Britain, where our politics in general seems so totally dysfunctional Caroline Lucas seems to be the most popular politician, and the only member of Parliament backed up by policies that might yet avert the worst. If I have to pick one person to represent this global wave of climate activism it would undoubtedly be Greta Thunberg. Do please watch this two minute video of her addressing COP 24 in Katowice, and check-out her Twitter for more news and videos.