As 2017 gets underway, it’s time to look at a variety of trends that could impact the world of sustainability and environmental conservation.
Of course, all of this is against the backdrop of the impact President-elect Donald Trump could have on the environment, particularly his nominee for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
However, not all environmental issues will be tied up in politics. New technology and inventions continue to evolve that could change the world’s environment for the better, as well as new trends that include a responsible approach to sustainability.
Here are some possible trends for the New Year, including some from The Scientific American.
Warming ocean temperatures continue to kill off coral in oceans around the world. Scientists have started to develop genetically engineered coral that can replace the vanishing species. They also are working on possibly relocating natural coral that is more resistant to rising water temperatures.
Because of the difficulty combatting environmental threats in the ocean depths, scientists are testing a new robot that could dive below the waves and drive off invasive creatures with electric shocks or poison. An example of a potential target includes the crown-of-thorns starfish that has devastated parts of the Great Barrier Reef.
Invasive bumblebees have driven off native insects in parts of Japan, New Zealand and South America. Scientists currently are working on methods to combat the spread of the bees in habitats where they can do severe damage to the local eco-system.
Water management continues to be an emerging issue, particularly among businesses that use massive amounts of water in manufacturing processes. Among the companies making a priority out of improving water management include Levi Strauss and Ford.
It may surprise some that 8 out 10 people continue to expect businesses to take the lead in solving societal issues, including those related to the environment, according to a 2016 survey. Much as the water issues mentioned above, more companies have started seriously looking at their role in environmental issues. Expect this trend to continue to grow, at least in certain sectors of the economy.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is now underway. Thanks to technology advances in the past decades, more and more people have finding ways to earn a living outside of the traditional office. This also can mean elimination of the traditional commute and a host of other issues in how people live. According to the World Economic Forum, this revolution – which also incorporates biomedical advances – is already changing the world in ways that cannot be foreseen, but the potential of environmental impact is certainly one of them.
What happens in 2017 is a matter of time. But with these and other trends continuing to emerge, expect plenty of environmental issues to consider – and act on – in the New Year.