Comment: Give and take 08 May 2019
Over the years covering industry, I’ve written a lot about nature and the environment. Usually I channel my inner Attenborough, reiterating how we need to do more to protect our lands and oceans, help wildlife, and minimise air and waste pollution.
The public and industry are told on a daily basis that they need to do more to protect the environment, but this usually relates to the protection of flora and fauna or combating greenhouse gas emissions that are raising sea levels and changing weather patterns. I would argue there is another reason to give the environment more respect.
Profiled in OE this month is a regeneration project in Scotland, whereby water source heat pumps will take heat from the River Clyde and use it to provide heating and hot water for a nearby residential development (see https://is.gd/unicub). This project is a great case for how nature can be used to complement industry. Another example that comes to mind surrounds poultry hens at Glenhead of Aldouran Farm in southwest Scotland. The birds are not only producing eggs, but also creating enough manure to generate heat and power for the farm. This approach, which is helping to manage power cuts, is a clever example of humans helping animals helping humans.
Projects like the above are innovative, but they also rely on nature ‘doing its thing’. With the future looking increasingly uncertain due to obstacles such as Brexit, cost fluctuations, and a growing skills gap, more companies may need to tap into natural resources due to cost, legislative, time and logistical-restraints.
But will that be possible with the way the planet is currently heading? Industry will, one day, be as reliant on nature as nature is on industry; perhaps not relying specifically on chicken s**t, but on other natural resources. Maybe it really is time to place environmental impact at the top of the agenda.
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