Poor air quality is a problem all around the world. Exposure to air pollution is linked to the premature deaths of an estimated 6.5 million people every year, making it the fourth largest threat to human health, trailing only high blood pressure, dietary risks, and smoking.
Combating climate change is a bit like treating a disease whose early stage symptoms are not very severe. People are not as motivated as they should be. Businesses have to comply with new regulations and spend money on new technologies, which seems like a losing proposition.
College students have often spearheaded uprisings and revolutionary ideas. A group of BYU engineering students is trying to start a solar-cell revolution.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has voted to ban expanded polystyrene, the foam plastic used in food packaging, packing peanuts, coffee cups, and more. It is one of the most extensive bans of this type in the U.S.
The X Prize Foundation provides financial incentives for innovative solutions to various technical challenges. Topics have ranged from developing spacecraft to trying to create a real-world version of the Star Trek tricorder. Last year, the foundation launched a $20 million challenge to come up with technologies by the year 2020 that turn carbon dioxide captured from the smokestacks of power plants into useful products.
There is a global effort underway to combat climate change. The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the primary culprit. As a result, there are two things to do about it: reduce the amount of CO2 we are dumping into the atmosphere and try to remove some of what is already there.