Five years ago, if science could create a mind-map of all the ideas in people’s minds, it would be astounding to see how small a space would have been occupied by “Climate Change.” To be technically right, climate always changes. The Earth has its own cycles and as climate changes, some species become extinct, some become dominant and some migrate. But why is then “Climate Change” such a big deal today? It is because it is artificially driven today at a very accelerated rate by mass-scale human activities such as burning of fossil fuels.

As co-founders at Dzukou that views sustainability as a core mission, Lars Hoogewerf and I were very lucky this year to be able to attend the Floriade2022 Almere on Climate Change. Many countries from around the world made top notch exhibits of the state-of-the-art measures that they are taking to fight climate change in their respective geographical regions. New transport systems being developed with clean energy, homes being architecturally redesigned, cities being replanned, urban forests being created, natural biomes being preserved: it was very exciting to see how cities will transform in time. But it was also super thrilling to see how vertical farming, robotics in greenhouses, optics with sun-rays and biological farming is almost mainstream in the field of agriculture now. And not to forget, we have vegan substitutes for everything now, even meat and dairy. As they say the dairy and meat industry produces almost 25% of the all greenhouse gases. Do you fancy tasting them?

But, being an engineer/designer and working with eco-materials, to me it was still the most thrilling experience to see how novel materials are being created from fully biological origins: building materials and packaging from fungus, textiles from algae, furniture from coffee waste, crockery from sea-shells, upholstery from sea-weed. You name it! The experience of these materials is so refreshingly tactile, that you will wonder why do we even stick to this boring world of plastics and laminates.

But the strongest undercurrent in the whole expo was still Energy, the primary reason why global temperatures are rising today. While it exhibited a plethora of new tech that mitigates energy consumption at homes, in urban areas, in the transport sector and in agriculture. But the quirky thing about energy is that there is still a big human component to it. Meaning: you can save energy significantly by checking your own wasteful behavior.

And finally, my own country, India, had a full exhibit there. It was on spirituality. Religious music played loudly and idols of gods were sold. And I quite wondered, when will it ever be a time when we will set religion and spirituality aside and talk about real issues in India? In 3 years, it is expected that India will supersede China in population. It’s the right time to start talking about Climate Change, increasing our own awareness and acting consciously towards the planet. What do you say?

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