Climate change and the global environmental crisis are humanity's most pressing challenges. It currently affects millions of people and will continue to affect many more over the foreseeable future. Climate change disrupts ecosystems with hundreds of animal and plant species caught in the middle, their homes and natural habitats destroyed. The human race might not be too far behind.
Man's continued reliance on fossil fuels directly impacts climate change and presents a considerable obstacle in completely reversing the environmental crisis. We use it to power not just industries but all aspects of our lives on Earth, as well as to create products such as plastics which are also toxic to the planet. It is now alarmingly evident that we need to do something about our dependency on petroleum and try to find - and permanently switch - to more renewable, sustainable, and eco-friendly alternatives for power and energy.
Scientists are turning to plants and animals as possible alternatives for fuel. There is now a global movement to transform the current petroleum-based market economy into one that is "bio-based". Despite the odds, scientists, politicians and industrial leaders are feeling optimistic.
"The Green Revolution" examines this new bio-based economic cycle, following several scientists, entrepreneurs and researchers innovating and paving the way for the future by creating bio-fuel alternatives. It checks whether or not they are possible replacements for coal and oil.
All of the petrol alternatives they have discovered are groundbreaking, some rooted in practical science, while others seem to belong in an episode of Star Trek.
Plant milking, for example, extracts a unique bio-active molecule from plant roots, specifically plants grown via aeroponic cultivation, meaning they grow in the air without using any soil or land. The roots are sprayed with an organic, non-toxic solvent that harvests the molecules for various pharmaceutical, cosmetic, crop and food applications.
Another company is looking at using biomass, the organic material that is produced by living organisms, such as plants and animals, including waste, as a fuel alternative. Scientists are re-purposing the black soldier fly as a new way to feed livestock because they are resilient and can store lots of nutrients in their bodies. The same concept is also being applied to nutrient-fed maggots so farmers can use them to feed fish and other livestock.
Meanwhile, researchers in Germany look for enzymes in animal manure to process its breakdown faster. Finally, a food startup from Finland has unlocked how to produce food from seemingly thin air. They have created a protein-rich food product with the essential amino acids derived from harvesting harmless and non-toxic organic bacteria that live in our atmosphere.
Advances in bio-based technologies promise to help solve the world's biggest ecological problems, such as species extinction, soil depletion, climate change and pesticide residue runoff. But even these sustainable and renewable resources are expensive to produce now and might not be enough to help the planet.
Directed by: Max Lebsanft