If we don’t learn, we can’t change

For people to grow and move forward as a society, we must learn. We must be educated. If we don’t do this, it is inevitable for us to remain stagnant. Now, if we could afford to stay stagnant and keep things just the way they are, this wouldn’t be an issue. But just look around. Read a newspaper. Speak to anyone. You know, we know, everybody knows – we are facing a climate emergency and an ecological crisis. Fires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, mass migration, civil war – it’s a slippery slope and we already sliding right the way down.

Given the publicity of this crisis is global, it is impossible to believe that there are still people in our society who refuse to either a) believe the crisis is happening or b) do anything about it. That’s not to say people don’t believe and aren’t doing things about it – there are a growing number of fighters, who want to see the change. The problem is, those who refuse to change, are actually those in power. The government holds the power to change industry. To change business. To change our ability to do damage to the environment. But low and behold, it isn’t the government who is passionately driving this change, because as far as they are concerned (and by they, I mean the House of Commons and Lords), this is largely a problem for the next generation. Cue – the next generation.

Credit: Teachthefuture.uk

Joe Brindle, a 17 year old from England, founded Teach the Future, a campaign by secondary and tertiary school launched at the end of 2019, to repurpose the education systems of the world, around the climate emergency and ecological crisis. The campaign has reached England, Scotland and is in progress for Wales and Northern Ireland, each with their own subtly different actions.

Credit: wikipedia.org

Their campaign in England is made up of 3 clear actionable points:

1. A government-commissioned review into how the whole of the English formal education system is preparing students for the climate emergency and ecological crisis.

2. Inclusion of the climate emergency and ecological crisis in teacher training and a new professional teaching qualification.

3. An English Climate Emergency Education Act

Teach The Future, UK

They believe these asks will bring about the necessary change to the education system. The belief and passion of the students who are behind this campaign is testament to the criticality of our ecological landscape, and how it must be addressed now. Brindle, and the larger team of students, are an example not only to other students, but to those who run our country – they have stepped up and spoken about what they need, demanding it and in so doing, highlighting that without it, we have a small chance of seeing a future that is close to the world we know today.

Teach the Future is by far one of the most important student led campaigns, of all time, for its vision is one that we need to survive and it ties in directly with SDG 4 Quality Education. Please check out their website and learn about the fantastic work Teach the Future has been carrying out.

Links:

Teach the Future Website: teachthefuture.uk/england

Sure we don’t need soil to grow our crops anymore, but is this scalable?

Maybe you haven’t heard about hydroponics before. It has been used centuries ago, in the Floating Gardens of China and Hanging Gardens of Babylon but its only recently, in the last 100 years or so, begun to get the close attention it deserves. Its impact could last lifetimes. Hydroponics is the growing of crops, not with the traditional methods of using soil, but through nutrient and mineral filled solutions in a water solvent. To begin with, this field of study likely grew in a small lab, with trial batches being produced to determine whether it is even possible to grow plants without soil in a traditional crop farm. It is possible. We know this now and what a step forward that is. Taking this science and applying it on an industrial scale, however, is a whole different step with whole new set of challenges – but thanks to some pioneers in the field, we are on the right track.

Soil vs Hydroponics, Growing Produce

Before we look at the efforts to take the industrial application step, let’s be clear on some of the undeniable benefits of hydroponics:

  • Not bound by location or availability of large amounts of space, so need for mass deforestation
  • No longer bound by the seasons and can be carried out all year round
  • Requires 20 times less water than traditional soil-based farms
  • The sterile environment of a hydroponic farm doesn’t need fertilisers
  • Conservation of water becomes far more integral to the farming cycle, with water being re-used throughout the farm
  • Modern technology enables constant monitoring of crop growth and farming
  • No soil required means less testing and management of large volumes of soil, including no weeding, no soil improvement, fertilising
  • Harvesting is more accessible through better organised crops

Of course, as with most things, there are disadvantages such as more technology resource being required, close and constant attention to crop cycles needed and the risk of waterborne disease infiltrating and affecting crops rapidly. However, if means can be found to address these disadvantages, the full potential of hydroponics can be realised and maintained at global scales.

One company taking on the big step is Phytoponics, based in Wales, UK. They have created patent pending technology, a Deep Water Culture that houses the crops and automatically provides all the necessary nutrients to the crops. This all enables rapid deployability and a huge return on investment through reduced installation costs, increased productivity and longer productive lives of the crops. Importantly, this solution also tackles the need for deforestation, which is destroying our planet at alarming speeds.

Phytoponics was founded to bring new advanced crop growing technology to the food chain by innovating new technology that is highly productive, efficient and resilient to climate change. We want to strengthen and secure the fresh produce food step by step, product by product to crop by crop until we achieve our mission.

Our Story, Phytoponics

By finding a practical alternative to traditional soil based farming, a key contributor to the larger climate crisis, and transforming this hydroponic science into a scalable solution, Phytoponics presents itself as the epitome of change needed to lessen the burden on our planet. Tying in with SDG 15 Life on Land, Phytoponics is taking a huge step to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of land as per the goal targets.

Much respect and admiration for these pioneers transforming a science into an industrial scale solution. It is hard to look to the future and not envisage what a world would look like if we had more alternate, sustainable solutions to the costly traditional methods we have today. These alternate sustainable solutions, like that of Phytoponics, will do nothing but good for tackling other related problems like world hunger and living through an increasingly harsh environment – so we should celebrate them.