Facing Climate Change: A Fresh Perspective
In case you missed the news, NASA detected a reduction in human CO2 emissions for the first time. This serves as some positive climate news, showing that humans can in fact make a difference in their emissions for the sake of the planet and its people.
For our blog post this month, the AIQUEOUS interns from Austin High School; Daniel Evans, Josue Vela, and Jason Lehman, share their perspectives on living in the face of climate change and what gives them hope for the future in light of this recent NASA discovery.
Climate change has been a big part of my life. For one, I hear about it constantly. On social media, the news, protesters, and school all constantly feed into the popularizing of the issue. Unfortunately, at least from what I see, most of this is fluff and performative. Last winter, during the freeze, it really hit me how bad this could get.
I’m an avid fisherman, and the freeze had a huge impact on me. Many people saw the piles of dead fish washed up on the coast. The sight of it was horrible, but this culling of fish was not just limited to the coast. Austin has tons of small ponds and creeks that are teeming with life, and it was there that I first learned to fish. With the water being really shallow in these places, a lot of the fish didn’t make it.
Seeing this devastation of an ecosystem that I really cared about inspired me to try and make a change.
You can’t buy insurance when your house is already underwater, that is how we need to think about climate change in the modern world. Now is the time to act, especially while we still have time to reverse a lot of the effects of climate change.
People will read headlines saying that there is some scary possibility in 2050 and believe that it’s a far off problem, but in fact the time to solve the problem is now, before we have to rename New Orleans to Atlantis.
When I heard about this internship opportunity for AIQUEOUS, I was really excited. After looking a little into the company, I saw that they were committed to fighting climate change. I felt that the work I would be doing would help as well. Seeing companies like this, and meeting all the people working there gives me hope for the future. Ordinary people devoting their lives to saving the world is really inspiring.
Since starting my internship for AIQUEOUS, I have become both more aware and more optimistic about climate change. Utility providers are some of the most important companies in our lives, providing people with basic necessities like water and electricity.
However, not many people know anything about them or how they operate, or where their energy comes from. Although buying electric cars, shutting off your computer at night, installing solar panels, taking public transport, and other such things are certainly helping and should be encouraged, they are a miniscule compared to the problems that fossil fuels and other harmful forms of fuel are creating. On a more positive note, people are becoming more aware, and critically, more vocal about climate change. People should focus on voting for clean energy bills and more efficient energy, increasing public transportation access, and putting pressure on companies that are actively harming the chances of the next thousands of generations ability to enjoy the planet.
Through my time with AIQUEOUS I have seen that a lot of utilities are focusing on switching to renewable energy, though the majority of these are local, community owned utilities that have limited funds compared to major companies. Legislation should focus on increasing the ability and funding of these smaller utilities to allow them to expand and ensure that people have a say in how they keep their lights on.
Hearing that reducing our emissions is something that's possible is really good news. While conducting research on potential clients to reach out to during my internship, I learned that many utility companies in the US is making at least some effort to become more environmentally friendly, from renewable energy to energy efficiency programs.
This has given me a lot more hope than I initially had at the beginning of the year for reducing and eventually reversing climate change, as I didn’t previously know just how widespread the effort for renewable energy was. I wouldn’t have known about all the great strides being made in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sector had I not taken this internship at the beginning of the year. Utility providers using clean energy is a big step towards a greener future, and my internship helped me realize that. This is shown in data too.
In the first quarter of 2022, AIQUEOUS helped utility providers save 10,262,715 kWh of electricity. While I wasn’t super involved in this, interning while this was going on is a big deal for me, and inspired me to do more.
These past couple of years, COVID-19 has significantly affected every part of the globe. However, one positive thing to come out of it is a large reduction in CO2 emissions, according to the recent NASA satellite report. Because so few people have been driving their cars and stimulating the part of the economy that produces emissions, there is far less available opportunity to produce those emissions, bringing our total world carbon footprint down. While we still have a long way to go before we fix our planet’s climate change, the strong push for renewable energy sources and energy efficiency as well as data that shows CO2 emissions greatly reducing over COVID has given me much more hope for a future carbon-neutral planet.