For a day without the severe limitations imposed by previous generations
Opinion article by Raul Fangueiro, Fibrenamics Coordinator - University of Minho.
The phenomena that have occurred in recent times in various places on our planet, such as central Europe, China or Australia, are an unequivocal proof of the effects of human action on climate change. As an example of this, we find the emergence of extreme events such as large forest fires, intense rains, prolonged droughts, among others. In fact, the scientific community seems to be unanimous in the correlation of the causes of these events with global warming, since, to a large extent, the phenomena are caused by the enormous release of greenhouse gases from human activity, such as burning fossil fuels, cutting down the rainforest and livestock.
On the other hand, an estimated data for the Earth Overload Day for 2021 is July 29th, and after this date we will already be consuming natural resources of the year 2022. Despite the effect of the pandemic caused by COVID19 having had a positive effect in this area, mainly due to the reduction in human activity resulting from periods of confinement, this indicator continues to be of great concern with regard to the sustainability of the planet. In fact, the linear model, which comprises extraction, processing and disposal at the end of the life cycle, is completely bankrupt, and there is an urgent need to move forward with the implementation of measures for the widespread use of renewable natural resources and, to a large extent, of waste recovery. In 2018, the recycling rate for urban solid waste in Portugal was only 38% compared to the 65% in Germany or 61% in Singapore. We have to do more... a lot more!
In the past few years, Fibrenamics has sought to respond to this highly important social challenge, in complete alignment with the strategy defined by the European Union, with regard to the European Ecological Pact (Green Deal). The recognition by the EU, through the REGIOSTARS, of the importance of Fibrenamics Green as a platform for aggregating skills and developing sustainable solutions based on waste, was undoubtedly an important milestone in the strategy outlined by Fibrenamics 5 years ago for its performance in the sustainability pillar. Through the disruptive model conceived and implemented, with the fruitful integration of science and technology with design and marketing, it was possible, from there, to carry out a very wide range of projects that resulted in sustainable solutions for the future, in full harmony between the university and the companies.
In the near future, we will do more and better! We will continue to contribute to build a more sustainable planet for all, in which future generations will be able to build their own future without the severe limitations imposed by previous generations. Fibrenamics will continue to generate the knowledge that will allow to develop sustainable solutions based on natural fibers, biopolymers and waste, but also on ecodesign and biomimetics, assuming, in each project, the responsibility of looking to the future through the eyes of nature, in which “nothing is created, nothing is lost, everything is transformed”.
Fibre the Future!
Author: Raul Fangueiro