The richest man in the world (sorry, Bezos, you are second now!) just surprised everyone with the promise of a huge prize for the research team that finds a solution to tackle one of humanity’s biggest environmental challenges.
So you guys probably know who Elon Musk is, right?
Musk is the South African entrepreneur who created the digital system PayPal and who has popularized electric cars and high-capacity batteries through his company Tesla. He is a sort of real life Tony Stark (aka Iron Man). Like Stark, he likes to push boundaries and doesn’t stop until he gets what he wants. And one of his biggest wishes is a more sustainable future.
Love him or hate him, one thing is for sure: he cares about the environment.
Musk seems to have two problem-solving approaches: apply creative scientific thought or throw money at the problem. And that is exactly what he is doing in his search for a technology capable of capturing carbon at a large scale. He announced a $100 million investment prize on Twitter. Even though this money won’t solve the globe’s problems in itself, it generates publicity and increases awareness on a technology the world really needs.
But what on Earth is carbon capture?
Well, if you believe in facts and you care about your fellow humans, you must be worried about climate change. The atmosphere is home to enormous quantities of pollutants and the world’s vegetation is no longer capable of filtering all that disgusting air by itself.
Ecosystems need help, and that’s where carbon capture technologies come in: they sequester and break carbon apart to clean the air. A scalable carbon capture technology would wage guerrilla warfare against climate change by distributing carbon capturing technology across different spots in the planet.
But Elon might also have his sights set on Mars.
Musk has one other passion: space exploration. The richest man in the world has the intention of colonizing Mars, where the atmosphere has a heavy carbon load. So the prize winner will potentially be contributing to scientific advancements that could make life on Mars possible. TikTokers are already imagining what Elon’s Martian chronicles might look like!
But what can we do to help NOW?
We are not all scientists, but we can all take responsibility for our planet and help in two ways. First, by reducing our carbon footprint by choosing clean energies and changing, for example, our transportation habits. Second, by planting and protecting trees, nature’s efficient and low-cost carbon capture technology. Folk have taken on TikTok initiatives such as #makeaforest, a campaign in which a tree was planted for each video uploaded with this hashtag. Have a look!