The fact that someone like me – an engineer working on high-tech solutions to our sustainability problems (CO2 capture processes) – is spending so much time advocating the low-tech solution of personal lifestyle change on this blog really says quite a lot. My experience has taught me that, even though it will play an important role, a predominantly high-tech solution to our sustainability crisis is (1) not practically possible and (2) not sustainable.
Barring some truly miraculous technological breakthrough, I can say with 100% certainty that technology alone will not save us. And yes, even if, by some miracle, we manage to address the crisis through technology, our current cultural mindset of consumerism and entitlement will simply cause us to raise our levels of consumption to match this new maximum and create a new, even bigger crisis. A purely technological solution is therefore simply not a viable option.
As I see it, there is only one long-term solution to this crisis: millions of people taking personal responsibility and making personal lifestyle changes that result in happy, healthy, wealthy and sustainable living. My dream is that this idea becomes widely accepted and commercialized in the real world so that we can ensure long and happy lives not only for ourselves, but for countless future generations of human beings. This might be a bit ambitious, but I truly believe that it is the one and only sustainable solution available to us today.
Please take a few minutes to check out some brief descriptions of how I see this dream coming true: