Can only new ideas make a sustainable future?

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Can only new ideas make a sustainable future?

By Jamie Kelsey-Fry


A new way to package water - Ooho. © Ooho - Pierre Paslier, Rodrigo García González and Guillaume Couche

I went to the ‘Looking Forwards’ show in London. It is the show by the Royal College of Art graduates. I found many ideas that could bring a bright new world.

If our ideas are free from money and big business, great things can happen.

Nell Bennett’s ‘Coral 3’ looks at how to help the world’s coral reefs. Nell said that she found a new way to reduce the acid in the sea water around coral reefs to help biodiversity, to save the coastline, and help tourism.

Julia Johnson’s ‘Plan Bee’ could help another serious problem, Colony Collapse Disorder. It kills 23 per cent of British bees each year. Plan Bee is a simple idea that uses wifi to tell beekeepers when bees are behaving in an unusual way in the hives, where the bees live.

People want more and more electronic devices and they become old ideas very quickly. The result is that around 80 per cent of electronic devices are thrown away in landfill. Recycling these devices is difficult because of the glues that keep them together in very slim designs. Andreas Bilicki’s ‘eGlu’ is a glue which can be reversed. He got the idea from studying the feet of geckos. It can make recycling very simple.

One of the worst changes in the world of shopping is bottled water. It takes three litres of water to make the plastic for a one-litre bottle of water. ‘Ooho’is an idea which allows you to package water in a cheap, biodegradable way. You can make it in your own kitchen. It’s a good way to slowly stop people using and throwing away plastic bottles. It is a prize winner by the design team of Pierre Paslier, Guillaume Couche and Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez.

All of these good ideas are solutions to problems that we humans have made. Or they are caused by the idea of growth in our economic and political system. It is a system which does not worry about damage to our environment or use of our natural resources. We only need to save the coral reefs and find ways of recycling because we pollute and destroy the natural world.

Two other ideas show a more direct solution. Janice Lau has made ‘The Public Abattoir’. It shows visitors how animals are killed for meat, a good way to stop people eating animals. The meat industry is one of the big contributors to climate change.

Finally, Pierre Paslier showed wonderful ideas for what he calls ‘advanced protests’. He understands that protesters need new ideas all the time. Paslier has made a remote-controlled car with paint which can draw big images on public buildings. He made a drone that can post banners and messages directly to places which are difficult to get to. And he made a new way for protesters to project images. His ideas for protesters are fun but he wants us to think about dangers for example from new agreements which can result in more chemicals in food, and the Lobbying Bill which is against human rights. He also wants us to know that the Metropolitan Police have new water cannons. This shows that protests are more and more important for change in a world of big business.

Jamie Kelsey-Fry is on Twitter @jamiekelseyfry

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