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Climate Week: biology, art and inspiration

Posted by on March 6, 2013

By Rebecca Nesbit

At the Society of Biology we are firm believers that biological research is fundamental to tackling the world’s challenges, and climate change has to be near the top of the list. Biology will help make predictions and provide solutions, but that is only part of the story. Technology and the behaviour of society are also integral to whether we meet this challenge. All businesses and organisations have a responsibility to reduce carbon emissions, not just those in the environmental sector.

With this in mind, I was interested to discover who I would meet at the launch of Climate Week in the House of Commons on Monday. Sure enough, I hadn’t even got through the door before I met someone who was using a biological solution to tackle climate change in an innovative way.

Severn Trent Water was shortlisted for one of the Climate Week awards thanks to the progress they have made in generating their own energy. This includes growing maize on contaminated land to feed an anaerobic digester producing equivalent energy to the supply for 4000 homes.

Of the other awards, the two sections which most caught my eye were the Best Artistic Response and the Most Inspirational Young Person.

The artistic contributions included a ring of blue LEDs around London monuments to demonstrate where sea levels could be in 1000 years’ time. There were also two very different videos on climate change and human rights in Bangladesh and on glaciers:

The young people truly were inspirational. The winner, Felix Finkbeiner, is only 15 but started Plant for the Planet when he was 9 and since then nearly 13 billion trees have been registered with the project’s World Tree Counter. All the shortlist are an antidote to any feeling that you are just too small to make a difference. This is the message I have taken away from Climate Week – a renewed inspiration and optimism – and I hope that many people will feel the same.

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