‘Invest in your planet’. That’s the theme for this year’s Earth Day and it speaks to a sentiment amongst a growing number of Australians — that the time to put all efforts and resources into positive environmental change is now.
Climate change is a broad, multifaceted issue that touches every corner of society, with engineers holding many of the solutions needed to tackle climate change challenges head on.
With that in mind, create has compiled a handy (yet by no means comprehensive) list of resources that offers motivation to do as Earth Day 2022 pledges: invest in our planet.
The Big Switch: Australia’s Electric Future by Saul Griffith
Released this year by create magazine’s April cover feature, Griffith’s optimistic blueprint for a radically greener Australia is taking bookstores by storm and for good reason. He provides a systematic breakdown on how we can harness electricity by transforming infrastructure, updating our grids and adapting our households.
Griffith, an engineer and inventor, is pushing to see an Australia that pools all its efforts into cutting emissions and prioritising electricity in new and novel ways.
Sustainable Materials Without the Hot Air: Making Buildings, Vehicles and Products Efficiently and with Less New Material by Julian Allwood and Jonathan Cullen
Industry will forever be investing in manufacturing, but this book explores how while also investing in our planet. Engineering experts Allwood and Cullen dive deep into why our relationship with materials needs to change (even more so than it already has), if we are going to continue to enjoy the innovations that enhance our lifestyles.
Not only does this book paint a clear picture of the present and future of low carbon materials, but as BBC News Magazine said, it “is a pragmatic guide to getting more value from less stuff”.
Superpower: Australia’s Low-Carbon Opportunity by Ross Garnaut
Australia has an abundance of renewable resources. In 2020, 24% of Australia’s total electricity generation was from renewable energy sources — the highest on record since the mid-1960s. Yet, according to renowned Australian economist and leading thinking on climate change policy Ross Garnaut, there is greater opportunity to be had.
Garnaut’s book sets out a roadmap for progress, touching on energy, transport, agriculture, the international scene and more. If you have been following the history of climate change policy in Australia, this book is essential reading.
Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What it Doesn’t, and Why it Matters by Steven E. Koonin
If there’s anyone that knows about climate science and politics, it’s Obama’s former Undersecretary for Science, Steven E. Koonin.
Koonin’s book is often cited as the foremost authority on the science behind climate change. It wields data, common sense and inquiry to provide a clearer understanding on how we should invest in a better future. If you enter this book with questions on the mind, you’ll come out not only with answers, but a sobering outlook on how oversimplified the climate debate has become.
TED Climate podcast
Anyone that’s ever watched a good TED (or TEDx) talk, knows that one is almost never enough. That intellectually awakening concept is brought to the world of environmental change via TED’s climate-focused podcast.
The whole point of the podcast is to do what any good TED talk does — take an often-overwhelming topic and unpack it with humanity and accessibility. TED Climate mines a long list of pertinent topics such as decarbonisation, transport electrification, food production and even how the use of language affects our ability to tackle climate change.
Robert Llewellyn’s Fully Charged Show podcast
Another entry for the ears, this time with a focus on clean energy. The overriding question of the podcast asks “is it possible for humans to no longer need to burn things to live, to work and to travel?”. If Robert and his team were tasked to answer, they’d say yes, then add their motto: stop burning stuff.
Over the 150+ episodes, there’s plenty for climate-conscious electronics aficionados to sink their minds into. Case in point: podcast 148 invites Metis Engineering founder Joe Holdsworth to talk about the latest in battery innovation.
Speaking for the Trees podcast
What do you get when you cross two environmental engineers with often impenetrable environmental issues? You get the Speaking for the Trees podcast. Streaming out from the USA, Ellie and Lauren fuse hard science, curiosity and a dash of humour to tease out the most pressing climate-related topics of the day.
From topics such as the carbon cycle to environmental disasters to bee conservation, our hosts speak with both feet on the ground, connecting with listeners on a human level and proving that everyone is wading through information oversaturation in the best way that they can.
Earth Day 2022 and beyond
This Earth Day-sparked list is designed to provide readers a starting point from which we can explore the multitude of rich and varied resources out there that will help engineers solve the climate change challenges our planet is facing.
If you have a climate change book or podcast recommendation share in the comments below.