The Eco Warriors that Tagged Web Summit 2018 (Part 2)

Web Summit is more environmentally responsible. The Planet:Tech conferences prove this, as they brought the best of what technology is doing for the environment.

A more sustainable Web Summit

Web Summit has been trying to be more environmentally sustainable and this year’s edition brought several meaningful initiatives. It started with the commitment of planting a tree for every single participant, which will originate a forest with 70.000 trees.

At lunchtime, there was an abundant and tasty supply of either vegetarian or organic meals.  Unfortunately, the commitment of the catering used being totally biodegradable hasn’t been entirely followed, the remainder being recycled… However, the participants lacked responsibility at the time of correctly separating the trash.

Initiatives such as the distribution of recyclable metal bottles and several water stations backed by one of the most active environmental foundations in the fight against plastic, the Mirpuri Foundation, are to be commended and we haven’t skipped the challenge: #turnthetideonplastic

 Web Summit Lisbon 2018 - Mirpuri Foundation Water Point Web Summit Lisbon 2018 - Mirpuri Foundation Reusable Water Bottle

What will be the final straw?

The environment minister emphasized the commitment of the Portuguese government of banning disposable plastics until 2020 in public administration, which represents 18% of the national demand, forcing the industry and each of us to reinvent themselves.

“Plastic is entering the food chain not only through the fish but also by the water in contact with plastic bottles”

Alexandra Costeau pointed out the need for “closing the tap” to disposable plastics to reverse this attack on the oceans, protect the marine wildlife and continuing the legacy of her grandfather Jack Costeau…

Paul Mirpuri structured the social action in three levels: raising awareness, reinforce the message of “closing the tap to disposable plastics” and remove the plastic from the oceans so it can be recycled.

“We created the problem so it’s up to us to solve it!”

Euronews journalist Jeremy Wilks relaunched the debate about the impact these actions on climate change, which you can watch here:

We need more responsible entrepreneurs

One of the most anticipated (and exciting) conferences of the day came from Rick Ridgeway, of Patagonia. With an empathic and genuine speech, he explained how his commitment to the environment shaped his personal and professional life by transforming what was initially a hobby into a mission.

“Your Business needs to have a purpose”

Patagonia was founded on a big environmental commitment. This makes it deliver 1% of its sales to environmental causes, among which the process of suing Donald Trump to protect Bears Ears National Monument.

Having a conscious matrix, they produce products with high fair trade standards and raise consumers’ awareness of the 4R’s: Repairing, Reselling, Recycling and Reducing. Proof of this is their communication alerting to the ecological footprint of their coat, by teasing us with the message: “Don’t buy this jacket”.

Based on their staff he explained it’s hard to select 9 candidates between...10.000 and he ended with the story of one of them, which is worth knowing!

Mission 2020: Why we must do more

Reporter Fiona Harvey adverted that since the attempts made on the 1992 Rio conference to the agreement signed in 2015, a lot has been done in particular by the Paris Agreement architect, Christiana Figueres.

However, according to the most recent IPCC report (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) a difference of half a degree in the average temperature (from 1,5ºC to 2,0ºC) brings drastic consequences:

  • It destroys animal biodiversity;
  • It destroys double the physical infrastructures;
  • It puts at risk triple the population, either by heat or hunger.

Christiana Figueres advocates that because of these consequences decarbonization is viewed by several world economies as an opportunity of being competitive in a low carbon scenario where not even the American economy withdraws.

Sustainable decay starts with the decarbonization of the current 40 Gton CO2 by 2020 up to 5 Gton CO2 by 2050 which is the terrestrial carbon absorption capacity.

“Let’s apply Moore’s law to sustainable degrowth”

There are some sectors, such as renewable energy and electric vehicles, that have been following this growth but in energy efficiency, transportation, and food production, not really…and that’s where technology can help us!

“How many times have you left a room with the lights on?”

Access to technologies that improve resource efficiency can’t be a luxury, in particular, to avoid that developing countries make the same mistakes as those developed. This commitment, which will end some systemic problems such as the lack of peace, has to be embraced by EVERYONE: Government, Economy, and Society:

“Wishing won’t solve it, we have to decide to make it happen”

In a speech marked by efficiency, the central question was:

“Do we all need to become vegetarian? YES!”

To watch other speakers who stood out, review the first part of Planetiers' summary of the Web Summit 2018.


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