The global edition of Industrial PRIME is adding finishing touches to a busy year that has been nothing short of fascinating.
In addition to all the knowledge and inspiration gained, it has become increasingly obvious that many of the stories and articles we have published indicate that we are about to move into a new epoch. A revolution is at hand, if you will.
As we all know by now, the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) held in Paris was a success, ending with a historical agreement between 195 countries on cutting carbon emissions to limit global warming.
Apart from the big breakthrough, one of the defining moments for Industrial PRIME took place on 7 December when, as part of his participation in the COP21, Arnold Schwarzenegger gave an inspiring speech to the students of the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po). We had front seat tickets to the event – through live stream video.
Schwarzenegger, the former bodybuilder and Governor of California, the film star, and most recently the influential messenger for the global climate movement, had one particularly interesting piece of advice to share.
“There is no doubt that climate change is humanity’s biggest challenge and threat,” he stated. “But we have to acknowledge that all those charts and data and doom and gloom, they don’t work. If you are struggling to put food on your table tonight, I can promise you that the temperatures possibly rising in fifty years from now is the furthest from your mind.”
The key to really making a difference, Schwarzenegger believes, is to revolutionize the way the big issue known as climate change is communicated to the people. And doing just that is also his new mission: he believes it will inspire what he calls “an unstoppable grassroots movement fuelled by people power.”
There are two key factors to Schwarzenegger’s new way of communicating.
Riding a bike to work should have a good, not detrimental, effect on your health. (Image: iStock)
1: Focus on the Here and Now
“When we talk about melting glaciers and rising sea levels, an impact that will be felt in 2050, we build distance between the people and the problem,” Schwarzenegger pointed out. “However, it is basic human nature to focus on the here and now, on survival.”
And that’s where Schwarzenegger thinks we should focus our attention when we talk about climate change as well. After all, painting the gloomy picture of what our planet might be like fifty or a hundred years from now does not seem to be doing much good.
The fact is that climate change and pollution are affecting our lives already, and Schwarzenegger knows it: our overuse of fossil fuels has created a public health hazard that is killing thousands of people on a daily basis.
“We cannot accept seven million premature deaths every year with a clear conscience,” Schwarzenegger fumed. “That is more than all the vehicle fatalities, homicides, and suicides combined. Yet every night we turn on the news and we see tragedy. We see car crashes and mass shootings, and we are rightfully outraged about all that. But air pollution, let’s not forget, is killing 19,000 people a day. Where’s the outrage about that?!”
To be honest, that still sounds a bit gloomy to us. And it is, but it also serves the important purpose of bridging the distance between ordinary human beings and the big issue at hand, giving us the crucial reminder that we are facing the problem as we speak.
2: Inspire by Telling the Success Stories
The man known for killing the Predator emphasized that not a single movement has ever been built on scaring the living daylights out of people.
Indeed, over-emphasizing the negative consequences of climate change should be done in moderation. That is what brings us to the second key factor in Schwarzenegger’s big plan for a new way of communicating.
“We need to build the people up, not just put them down,” he stated. “We must tell the success stories, because there are wonderful success stories all over the world. Don’t scare people, inspire them.”
Which, incidentally, is exactly what Industrial PRIME has been doing all year – even though we never really had the time to stop and think about it. Not until we heard Schwarzenegger’s speech.
The majority of the new solutions, innovations, and significant contracts we have written about this year involve either green energy or important steps forward in energy efficiency.
Take the marine industry as an example. 90% of the world’s commerce travels by ocean. Moving goods around the world by ship is the single most cost-efficient and environmentally friendly mode of shipping. But that does not mean it cannot or should not be done in an even more sustainable way.
Industrial PRIME is headquartered in Finland, a country that is host to a major marine industry cluster responsible for some of the most cutting-edge marine solutions available today.
The energy-efficient Azipod, ABB’s revolutionary propulsion solution, was and still is developed in Finland, where ABB has strong business units. Wärtsilä is another global leader with an impressive portfolio of technology and solutions related to LNG (liquefied natural gas), not to mention all the other things the company has to offer for other industries such as the energy sector. And then there is the Meyer Turku shipyard, where some of the world’s most advanced ships are created.
But let us move on before your curiosity gets the better of you and you start googling to find out more about this innovative little nation.
Energy efficiency will be crucial in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but the production of the energy itself is going to be just as important. And this is another field where great news is being reported practically every day.
Our pick of the rest of the world’s endless success stories this year include the record-breaking solar technology of SunPower, as well as the advanced HVDC systems by ABB that enable the efficient transmission of renewable energy from solar and wind farms to locations far, far away.
Indeed, as Schwarzenegger pointed out, the world is already full of success stories. These revolutionary companies and their innovations are giving us the opportunity to change the world, and there is plenty more where all the above-mentioned came from.
Pacific Coast Highway in California. A view worth fighting for. (Image: Industrial PRIME)
Green = Growth
What is perhaps even more crucial about technology is that not only is it making the world more green, it is also giving economies all over the world a much-needed boost – as hard as it might be for some to believe.
California is a perfect example of just that. During his speech and the conversation with the Sciences Po students that followed, Schwarzenegger made several references to the state he used to lead and all its achievements.
“In California, we were able to bring people together around the solutions,” he said. “And because of that California is now 40% more energy efficient than the rest of the United States.”
And, as California has been passing its groundbreaking environmental laws, be that during Schwarzenegger’s reign or under the helm of his follower Jerry Brown, the economy of the state has been booming.
“This is the new economy,” Schwarzenegger proclaimed. “Renewable energy is coming on strong, and we know that the green economy is a growing economy. We have to talk about that, not scare the hell out of people and make people feel guilty about driving a car or having a flat-screen TV.”
Industrial PRIME got a glimpse of that green growth last summer, when we travelled to California in order to produce a three-article series about the state and its endeavours to protect the environment.
We can confirm Schwarzenegger’s claims, as we heard the same story from the businesses and the people we met down in California, be that from the mouth of a courageous individual working to make the world a better place, the company building the world’s most powerful solar panels, or the CEO of the world’s greenest port.
Back to How It Used to Be
So just how did the Hummer-driving conservative bodybuilder known as Arnold Schwarzenegger become so passionate about protecting the environment?
In his speech, the Austrian Oak spent a few moments reflecting his reasons. We learned that the inspiration for his crusade against climate change has nothing to do with his political affiliation or ideology. Instead, it has everything to do with his childhood spent in Austria.
“I was fortunate to grow up close to the earth,” he said. “The environment was our source of life, and it was also my playground. My mother grew our food in our garden. We played in the fields and we swam in the lake, and the environment was absolutely everything to us.”
Schwarzenegger pointed out that while growing up in such an idyllic environment, he could never have imagined a world where the air is not safe to breathe, or where over a billion people do not have access to safe drinking water.
And yet… He continued to admit that he could also not have imagined that one day he would become Governor of California, and that he would have the power to do something about the problem.
Then he gave his audience a valuable reminder: one does not really have to become Governor or President to be able to make a difference.
“The greatest movements in our history did not start at the halls of power or in the capitals,” he said. “They started with ordinary people at the grass-roots level, and the same applies to the environmental movement.”
With one of his less-convincing metaphors, Schwarzenegger stated that we are not living in a movie world where we have special effects and where we can rewrite the script to have a better outcome.
But we’ll be damned if we won’t rewrite this one again! In fact, our new scriptwriters just met in Paris and they were not satisfied with the old script. The technology we need is right in front of us, and it is all the special effects we are going to need – so let’s have ourselves a happy ending!
Text by Industrial PRIME. Main image: iStock
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