Innovation, individual action and the road to global net-zero

When reducing CO emissions alone is not enough to halt climate change, and offsetting emissions is increasingly seen as greenwashing, what will it take to achieve net-zero on a global scale? The answer is in each of us. And all of us. Humanity coming together under one cause.

Sounds lofty, but that’s where we’re at, and it all begins with education. That’s the reason we went to Antarctica with 2041 Foundation, to educate ourselves on the extent of the challenge so we can drive change effectively by in turn helping to educate all of the diverse communities we work within.

In the series of conversations and articles on these pages, you’ll hear from a climate change activist, expedition guides, the 2041 Foundation, and some of the amazing people who made the journey with us, all about the impacts of climate change and what we all can do individually to help hit net-zero. But before we get into that, let’s cover some basics…

First up, what is net-zero?

Net-zero is a climate change target. It’s a reality we can reach where humans are balancing the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere as we are producing and is driven by ambitious and robust emission reduction and removal targets.

Why is net-zero important?

Net-zero is how we can preserve the planet as it is right now, protecting life as we know it for all living things and future generations.

It’s hard to swallow, but as humans we’re responsible for the acceleration of global warming and the rapid melting of the ice caps in Antarctica, which in turn is leading to rising sea levels, extreme weather, flooding, drought, fires and ultimately extinction of the most vulnerable creatures and plant life.

Hitting net-zero by 2050 will keep global warming to 1.5 degrees (instead of the >2 degrees we’re on track for) and would mean that these life-threatening events would be the exception, not the norm.

Innovative technology will help

Without a doubt, advanced technology will be crucial in helping the human race hit net- zero. Within Ventient, innovative technology is helping us create evermore clean, renewable energy, avoiding carbon emissions from otherwise fossil fuel derived energy across Europe and bringing net-zero closer.

Elsewhere, systems, apps and better data are all supporting increased sustainability within companies and communities, and carbon capture technology (designed to remove CO₂ from the atmosphere) has huge potential to permanently remove and lock away atmospheric carbon. Direct carbon capture technology is, however, currently unproven at scale, expensive and has its own sustainability challenges.

Individual action is the key

The path of certainty towards net-zero is paved with individual actions taken on a global scale. Each of us making small changes to our lives, and all of us doing it together to halt climate change.

“Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5°C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems.” – Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

(The IPCC is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, they’re the United Nations body for assessing climate change.)

Actions such as turning off lights around the house when no-one’s in the room, not leaving devices on standby, switching to a renewable energy tariff, reducing meat in your diet, and using public transport instead of driving can all make a huge difference when we all do them. Check out activist Avinash Narayanaswamy’s 27 ways to live more sustainably for a list of easy actions you can take to cut your carbon footprint.

Education is everything

The increasingly devastating impacts of climate change are evident around the world, but for all the negative impact human action has had, if we work together we can have an equally positive one. We’re all part of one ecosystem, and by each understanding the challenge we face and what we can do to tackle it, we can work together secure the future of people and our planet.

At Ventient we’re committed to acting and empowering people through education, so they in-turn can drive change in communities and corporations and demand greater progress from governments. Explore the learnings we’ve made from our trip to Antarctica and the inspirational people we met, and let’s all push for net-zero through individual action on a global scale.

If we all join together, we can make a change.

On our mission to Antarctica we met people from different countries and backgrounds, all united by one common objective: to stop climate change. One of them was CEO and activist Avinash Narayanaswamy.

In this video, you can hear about his mission and the changes we can all make to lead a sustainable lifestyle, because fighting climate change is up to each and every one of us. Will you join us and become part of the solution?

Here’s the list that Avinash created with simple ways to lead a sustainable lifestyle that we hope can inspire you.