Innovation Saves The World It Makes Go Round

by Einar Du Rietz

Driver Still Behind the Wheel

I love a sunny story and the most recent one I stumbled upon, cherished in the environmental movement, is a recent innovation – still under development – of a new method to turn toxic textile.factory effluent into clean water.

Go for it, Maria Jonstrup!

One of the most disturbing ingredients of the environmental debate, is the tendency to find a conflict between a decent environment and scientific and industrial innovations. While some, and indeed Dr Jonstrup’s, are admittedly labelled Green, others are seen as the enemy. What’s really the historical perspective, if we agree that environment means the living conditions for humans?

To make a travesty of Howard Roark’s court speech in The Fountainhead: Once upon a time, one man found out how to tame fire. He was probably burned at the stake by the local environmental organization.

Virtually all innovations have initially been under attack by environmental, or religious sceptics, be it electricity, motor vehicles or nuclear power. The current exception normally is what’s referred to as Green Invention, most often not primarily because it’s good for the environment, but because it got the blessing by the government, in other words is financed with tax money.

Jonstrup seems to be a welcome exception to this. Another one would be the recently started experiments with “no driver vehicles”, including trucks, using advanced GPS equipment to navigate, thus optimizing the fuel consumption and emissions. Don’t be scared. The tests so far have a human driver along, just in case, a bit as in commercial aircraft on autopilot. Exciting! What I like is that it’s developed in cooperation between universities and industry. Good luck!


About the Author: Einar Du Rietz

Einar Du Rietz is a journalist and communications consultant based in Europe. He has authored several environmental reports for the Electrolux Group and written many blogs for the Center for the New Europe at CNE Environment.