Technology Change

Will technology arrest climate change?


Climate change is as real as it could get. But, can we all dream of a day when technology will step in and arrest it, the way it has solved many modern day issues? That is one of the main points that Mridula Ramesh raises in her book, The Climate Solution: India’s Climate-Change Crisis And What We Can Do About It.

There is a story about Karan, a marginal farmer on the verge of giving up, when a small company opens a micro-warehouse near his farm. He stores his crop in it, and despite paying to do so, makes some money. He gets a receipt, and that helps him get a loan from a bank. That is technology to his rescue. Yet another company sells him power from a small solar panel mounted on his roof. Another one sets up a drip irrigation system. The place has become prosperous thanks to technology.

Innovations, as she rightly says, address market needs, which are created by some form of disruption. And a rapidly warming climate is probably the biggest disrption of our times. Yet the innovaiton and investment in technologies that could make India more climate resilient is small.

Will technology actually rescue people from the impact of climate change? Mridula describes her meeting with IIT-IIM graduates who she calls “techno optimists”. They believe technology will save the day!

Mridula takes the reader through the entire gamut of how it is already affecting us, and how it can get worse. But, very practically, and sensibly, the author wraps up the book with a checklist of actions that individuals, institutions and government need to take in order to build our resilience to climate change.

The book could possibly be just some of her thoughts on the subject. She is the founder of the Sundaram Climate Institute that focuses on waste and water solutions, is an angel investor in cleantech start-ups, teaches at the Great Lakes Institute of Management on climate change, and writes about it wherever she can. Above all, she lives that life, living in a net zero-waste home in Madurai.


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