WE’RE PRIMED FOR “INTENSE” FORMULA E RETURN

Envision Virgin Racing’s Managing Director Sylvain Filippi says his team is primed and ready for an “intense” Formula E return following a five-month hiatus, as teams and drivers face a gruelling six races in nine days at Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport.

The former airport will host rounds six to 11 of the all-electric series starting on August 5th to conclude the 2019/2020 season – marking the championship’s sixth visit to the German capital and making it the only city to have featured in every Formula E season.

Following the worldwide coronavirus lockdown, the team has continued to work remotely and last week returned to its Silverstone headquarters whilst following stringent social distancing measures.

Now the team is accelerating preparations following the news that Formula E will conclude the season with an unprecedented three double-headers, including races held mid-week and using a variety of track configurations.

“It’s great to be returning to racing and I’m extremely impressed with the way Formula E has handled the entire hiatus period,” says Filippi. “By putting the wellbeing of the paddock first and communicating freely it means we as teams have full faith in their ability to deliver a safe, spectacular championship conclusion. Everyone at Envision Virgin Racing has, and is, working incredibly hard, but six races in nine days is going to be intense – especially with reduced on site personnel and remote working – but 100% we’re primed and ready for the challenge ahead.”

Briton Bird, one of only a handful of drivers to have competed in every single Berlin E-Prix, said: “It’s been a very challenging time for so many of us, but I’m delighted we’re going racing again. For sure, there’s a lot of unknowns going into these events, not least the intensity of so many races in such a short timeframe and I suspect Formula E have some surprises up their sleeves too with regards to the track layouts. It feels like such a long time since my win at the season opener in Diriyah, but the whole team is raring to go again, and it’s still anyone’s championship for the taking.”

Team-mate Frijns, who will celebrate his 29th birthday ahead of the third race in Berlin, commented:

 

It’s hard to believe that after all this time we’ll be taking to the track again. As a driver, I’ve never experienced such a long absence from the cockpit so we’ve been working hard on remaining physically and mentally focused including simulator work, competing in Formula E’s Race at Home Challenge and regular communication with the engineers. We know from past experience what a testing circuit Berlin can be, but this should just make for an even better show for those watching safely at home.

-Robin Frijns

Envision Group’s Franz Jung and Chairman of the Board of Envision Virgin Racing added: “We’ve all been experiencing unprecedented times of late so it’s fantastic that Formula E, the FIA and the local authorities have been able to safely stage these events, especially as sport plays such an important role in people’s lives. During the hiatus, the entire team has remained just as focused and motivated to ensure value for our partners and entertainment for our fans, and we’re looking forward to ending the season on a high.”

The 2019/2020 Formula E season will resume with three double-headers taking place on 5th & 6th, 8th & 9th and  12th & 13th August, with all six races staged at Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport.

The speed of change

From race to road, how everyday electric cars have been hugely influenced by on track technology in just six seasons...

It is said there are two areas that are the driving force behind human innovation: war and sport. If you cast your mind back to the technology developments we now all take for granted, so many can be traced back to these. Why? Quite simply when humans compete there is a desire to win and that competition drives innovation.  

The internet, GPS, radars, crash helmets, canned food, penicillin, space programmes, composites, aerodynamicsall have their roots seeded in one or the other, with their real-world application and mainstream adoption now just taken for granted. 

Motorsport has always been at the forefront of cutting-edge innovation from the more obviously innovations such as seat belts and transmission systems to the wider applications like prosthetic limbs to even how medical operations are performed.  

With Formula E, the all-electric race series showcases the best of EV technology that will – and is – filtering down into everyday road cars.  

Formula E was created as a testbed for manufacturers to develop their electric technology at the highest level of competition, with the tech then filtering down into everyday electric road cars,” remarks Envision Virgin Racing Managing Director Sylvain Filippi. Adding: “Just how other forms of motorsport have previously influenced and shaped petrol and diesel cars, only with Formula E it’s happening much faster. 

Boasting the most competitive line-up in motorsport, Formula E has some of the world’s top manufacturers participating who in turn are developing some of the leading electric vehicles available to consumers. In just six seasons, the championship has doubled the capacity of the battery meaning that each driver competes with just one car, rather than two, per race. This is a huge advancement in battery technology, over such a short period of time, and is technology that can translate directly into road car uses with companies like Envision AESC creating batteries for cars across the world.  

Unlike many other forms of motorsport, Formula E cars all use the same battery, chassis and body work – this is to allow the increased advancement of the performance of the car in other areas that will impact electric vehicles in the futureThe changes made can range from weight reduction to energy management, and each team spends hundreds of hours ensuring that they run the most efficiently.  

As an independent outfit, Envision Virgin Racing works with Audi Sport – another leading Formula E team  who continue to refine their package ever season. Audi have stated that it runs an ‘ultralightweight strategy’ – by analysing every component of the car they have been able to remove 10% of the mass and with batteries weighing around 300kg, it’s extremely important to be able to reduce weight elsewhere in the car. Their Team Principal Alan McNish believes, “competition has and always will be a major catalyst”.  

Unable to make changes to the technology of the race car, Envision Virgin Racing must use software to gain a competitive advantage. Managing the flow of energy through the drivetrain via software is one of the key areas of software advantage for teams. In short, software is to Formula E what aerodynamics is to Formula One, the smallest of changes can deliver race wins. In the same way car upgrades are brought to races in F1, software packages and updates are brought to Formula E to be tested. However, upgrades must be thoroughly tested and not rushed as unlike a physical upgrade to a wing for example, mistakes in software upgrades can mean a car stopping on track or a complete system failure 

Software does not give a power advantage – all cars are restricted to 200kW during the race or 250kW during qualifying – however it allows teams to use the power more efficiently (think smart phones here, having too many apps open can reduce your battery life). Drivers must consume the minimum amount of energy possible per lap whilst achieving the desired lap time, it’s a fine line to balance and takes considerable skill from the driver’s side. Improvements in these efficiencies have a direct correlation to road cars, the series has already seen a 13% efficiency in the running of its cars, and this will continue to increase – particularly with the next generation of car (Gen3). 

The next technology step in Formula E will be the rate of charging. The development of a cutting-edge charging solution would pave the way for the increased uptake of EVs by consumers as the myths regarding charging and range anxiety are dispelled.  

WHAT GOES INTO A SPLIT-SECOND DECISION?

The difference between winning and losing in Formula E can often be measured in milliseconds, but for Envision Virgin Racing that decision is no longer left solely to the driver…

Studies estimate that adults make around 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each and every day. Some big, some small. Some significant, some trivia. Some good, some bad. For professional sports athletes, those split-second decisions can be the difference between a lot more… winning and losing.

And in some sports, that split decision can be over in the blink of an eye, literally. Take baseball for instance, a 100mph fastball takes roughly 375 – 400 milliseconds seconds to reach the batter. Blinking takes around 300 – 400 milliseconds. Not long then to decide what stroke to play and then to (successfully) execute it.

It’s the same in motorsport. The average time for a driver to react to the start lights is around 200 milliseconds; half the time it takes to blink to get that essential good start and then prepare for the next all important decision… followed by the next.

2020 Marrakesh E-prix
2020 Marrakesh E-prix

As in any motorsport series, the final decision ultimately rests with the man or woman behind the wheel but for Envision Virgin Racing drivers Sam Bird and Robin Frijns, they are far from alone when it comes to making many of these.

For almost two seasons now, Envision Virgin Racing has been successfully collaborating with Genpact to connect the data from our cars, drivers, team and tracks to help enhance decision-making and therefore race performance.

How, we hear you say? Well, take Formula E’s race length as an example. From the start of season five, races have no longer been a fixed number of laps, instead set to 45 minutes plus one lap. This means even greater energy management is required as every overtake, defensive manoeuvre, safety car or weather change can affect whether Sam Bird and Robin Frijns need to push or save remaining energy.

To better predict how many laps there will be in each race and efficiently manage energy, Genpact worked with the team to develop the Lap Estimate Optimizer (LEO), an AI-based scenario engine that houses a variety of different algorithms.

LEO runs alongside Envision Virgin Racing’s existing systems to assess thousands of potential scenarios and understand the impact of everything to an overtake to a sudden hailstorm, leading to a better understanding of how many laps remain.

LEO’s insights are particularly helpful when faced with changing track conditions, as was the case in Paris (where a certain Mr Frijns went on to take his maiden Formula E victory we might add) and Hong Kong, where LEO offered benefits over classic analysis methods. Similarly, in Santiago, LEO was able to settle on the right number 15 laps earlier. In short, it is about leaving as little as possible to chance.

And now this collaboration has been recognised with a coveted Hackett Group Digital Award. Hosted annually, the awards – set up by the leading strategic consultancy – aim to spotlight companies that are on the cutting edge of digital business practice, with Genpact taking top spot in the Analytics Category through their work with the team.

And of course, that work is constantly being fined tuned and even applied to wider business applications, all trying to amplify the partnership between human instinct and machine learning…after all, who wouldn’t want some help making 35,000 decisions a day?

SHOULD I CARE ABOUT WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY?

From ‘World Nutella Day’ to days dedicated to hugging your pet, the list of official anniversaries may have spiralled out of control but this is one you must observe…

Today is World Environment Day. 24 hours, 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds designed to promote environmental awareness. But why should you care? Is it really any different from any other day? Over recent years, the catalogue of PR-backed anniversary days has morphed from the serious to the surreal. You might be surprised to learn that today is also National Gingerbread Day, National Sausage Roll Day and National Hot Air Balloon Day.

So, when you are not 1,500 ft above the ground, with a sausage roll in one hand and a gingerbread man in the other, it is worth taking the time to think about the significance of this 46-year-old tradition.

World Environment Day, or WED as some like to refer to it as, was started by the United Nations in 1972 and formalised two years later. Since its inception, it has developed into a global platform for raising awareness and taking action, and it is celebrated in over 100 countries.

The focus for World Environment Day 2020 is biodiversity – a call to action to combat the accelerating species loss and degradation of the natural world. A concern that is both urgent and existential. For instance, just cast your mind back only a few months to the devastating bushfires in Brazil, the US and Australia, or to the locust infestations across East Arica and, of course, the current global pandemic – all highlighting the interdependence of humans and its planet.

Today’s activities, originally scheduled to be centred in Colombia, are understandably expected to be subdued and confined to online seminars and activities, but that does not mean it is any less important… or effective. Indeed, the fact you are reading this very article right now is already helping to bring about change.

So, what can you do? This is perhaps the most overused statement when talking about climate change and yet still its biggest adversary. Human motivation is arguably one of the toughest challenges facing global warming. It is like keeping fit; we all know the basics but the gap between reading about losing weight and actually shedding those pounds can be sizeable.

And that’s where World Environment Day – or any climate awareness day/project/initiative for that matter – comes in; to encourage people to take the next steps and  to metaphorically do ‘five sustainable press-ups’. Envision Virgin Racing do this through its Race Against Climate Change programme, but the same can be said for our partners, inspiring their workers, friends and family to take little steps that can make huge, and lasting, changes.

‘Plogging’ is a combination of jogging and picking up litter – an initiative utilised by the team’s partner Genpact in a bid to reduce plastic and manage waste in communities worldwide. Genpact successfully ran this activity in multiple regions across India, from Bengaluru to Jaipur. Over 800 environmentally conscious volunteers helped collect 3,955 kgs of rubbish (the equivalent of fully grown Indian Elephant in case you were wondering), which the team then sent for recycling and later used for the construction of roads.

Staying with Genpact, the team there also undertake tree-plantation drives and over the last four years, the programme has run 21 events, and planted 14,000 saplings and shrubs across India, passing on environmental education and new skills onto 4,600 volunteers.

Then, as part of it’s company goal to eliminate single use plastic, Genpact launched a ‘plastic-villain’ campaign. Employees across nine European countries collected plastic waste and used it to create characters. The scheme helped clear 175kgs of plastic, whilst having some fun at the same time, with all of it later recycled.

And finally for Genpact, working in partnership with United Way Bengaluru, the team stepped in to help save the city’s Saul Kere lake which was in rapid decline from a build-up of raw sewage and waste. A total of 1,800 employees helped improve the water, security and maintenance of the 61-acre lake, trebling its overall health, when compared to its previous state.

Meanwhile, partner Stanley has set itself ambitious targets that it hopes will inspire its some 60,000 staff, as well as others. By 2030, they plan to go one better than being carbon neutral and to become ‘carbon positive’. Not heard of this one? This is an initiative whereby a company or organisation actually creates an environmental benefit by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It centres around three programmes; using carbon removal technologies, achieving zero waste to landfill, and utilising sustainable water use. For the later, Stanley have teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to develop sustainable water management plans, making sure water is fairly distributed between different users in that region.

So, now you’ve heard what others are doing, the question remains as to what are you going to do for World Environment Day? If you’re in need of inspiration, then check out the many blog pieces we have on our website or head over to our RACC page to learn more.

DID YOU KNOW?
– Biodiversity involves 8 million plant and animal species, the ecosystems that house them, and the genetic diversity among them.

– In the last 150 years, the live coral reef cover has been reduced by half.

– Within the next 10 years, one out of every four known species may have been wiped off the planet.

– It would take 1.6 Earths to meet the demands that humans make on nature each year.

“THERE’S NO VACCINE FOR CLIMATE CHANGE”

Lei Zhang, Founder and CEO of Envision Group – one of the world’s leading green-tech companies – explains why mankind is facing climate change breaking point unless we act fast…

The global pandemic caused by the coronavirus could eventually be solved with a vaccine, but when the climate and ecological crisis we are facing reaches breaking point, we as mankind have no vaccine in hand. Unless we act fast, there will be nothing we can do except helplessly witness the end of a civilization and a planet.

As mankind enters the second decade of the twenty-first century, no one could have predicted a plague sweeping the globe with no place spared from its viral ravages.

The Price of a Fluke

Although medical experts have warned humanity over the past few decades that a global pandemic could break out at any moment, governments, medical systems and international organizations continued ignoring the warnings, failed to prepare adequately and even developed a numbness to what they perceived as scientists “crying wolf”. Even at the beginning of the pandemic, epidemiologists predicted that millions of people would be infected worldwide, but at the time it was dismissed as being alarmist. At this point of writing, however, more than two million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 infections worldwide, and 200 countries and regions around the world have been hit.

All psychologists know that human nature has a blind spot for risks and a natural optimistic bias. The whole gambling industry is built on this well studied and known human pattern which, in some instance, served us well as a species.

However, when we deceive ourselves, we invariably end up paying an extremely heavy price. On the one hand, population aggregation and transnational mobilization – as results of urbanization and globalization – create a complex and highly beneficial “super network” of interwoven resources, information, means and skills; but on the other hand it makes civilization more vulnerable than ever. Just three months of the outbreak have left almost all countries in the world facing social isolation, economic recession, unemployment surge and panic; presenting world leaders with the unenviable dilemma of “saving lives” or “saving economy”. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), this year the global economy is set to fall into its worst recession since the Great Depression.

Neither a sustainable public health system nor a sustainable human civilization should be built on a “fluke”.

Climate Crisis
In the face of a systemic crisis, neither countries, companies nor individuals can stand alone. Now, more than ever, we feel the urge for humanity to address a future inevitable crisis, one poised to be bigger and even longer-lasting than the current crisis we are facing – climate change. The climate crisis has far-reaching consequences for humanity, destroying the ecosystem on which we depend and poisoning the only planet capable of supporting life.

Sea levels are rising. If the current warming trend is not reversed, about 150 million people will be living below sea level by 2050. At the end of this century, the world’s most important coastal economic centers like Shanghai, New York, London, Tokyo and other city clusters will all be in jeopardy. Sea levels will continue to rise over the next century.

Ecological diversity has been destroyed. The rapid loss of biodiversity has led an increasing number of pathogens to infect humans as intermediate hosts. And the negative impact of climate change on habitat and diversity are far more profound than that caused by the wildlife trade.

Extreme weather will become more frequent. Thorough changes in the climate system have induced an exponential increase in extreme weather events such as high temperatures, droughts, floods and typhoons. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Statement on the “State of the Global Climate in 2019”, released in March 2020, shows that climate change and extreme weather are increasingly visibly and profoundly impacting socio-economic development, human physical and mental health and food security.

The coming climate crisis may be more severe than the current coronavirus pandemic. The global pandemic caused by the coronavirus could eventually be solved with a vaccine, but when the climate and ecological crisis we are facing reaches breaking point, we as mankind have no vaccine in hand.

 

Negligence and Procrastination

One of the greatest lessons learnt since the start of the outbreak is that – in the face of a systemic crisis, negligence and procrastination are not viable strategies for saving lives and economies. Only urgent action can stop the spread of a crisis. As we reflect on why we ignored the warnings of medical experts in the first place, we cannot ignore the alarm bells that scientists are ringing about the catastrophic consequences of climate change.
Climate change began with the large-scale use of fossil energy during the industrial revolution with gradual accumulation of greenhouse gases over two centuries an exponentially growing threat.

We need to understand the “non-linear outbreak” model of systemic crises. The confirmed cases and deaths attributed to COVID-19 initially formed a sporadic pattern. The geometrical nature of an epidemy propagation quickly turns an unnoticed “stream” into an unavoidable surging tsunami . It took 100 days for confirmed cases to rise from 0 to 1 million, but only 10 days from 1 million to 2, such is the nature of exponential growth.

Thus, for a “non-linear systemic crisis”, the cost of early intervention is much lower than the cost of handling the crisis at a later stage.

In order to avert a catastrophe caused by climate change, the world has struggled to reach a consensus, with the adoption of the “Paris Agreement” a noble attempt to limit the temperature rise this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius. Humanity, in order to achieve this goal, must achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Opportunities from a Zero Carbon Economy

A growing number of multinational corporations, local governments and countries have committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. A zero-carbon transformation is not only a challenge, but also a huge opportunity to nurture a green economy.

At the end of 2019, the President of the European Commission announced the European Green Deal, setting out an ambitious strategy for the EU to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050, aiming to make Europe the world’s first “climate neutral” continent. The European Green Deal aims to achieve green and sustainable development across energy, industry, production and consumption, large-scale infrastructure, transport, food and agriculture, construction.

On 10 April this year, China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) released the “Energy Law of The People’s Republic of China (Draft)”, which clearly stated that the country will prioritise the development of renewable energy, pointing towards cleaner, low carbon and digitalised development.

In such an international environment, the sooner China begins its determined transition towards zero carbon status, the sooner it will take a leading position in the global green industry. Renewable energy is now cost competitive with fossil fuels, and booming technology will continue decrease its cost. China could leverage the opportunity of smart and clean energy transformation to achieve both economic and environmental sustainability.

We should see that, before 2050, wind power and solar power will become the new coal for generating power, batteries and hydrogen fuels will be the new oil, and the AIoT operating system will turn into the new power network. Humankind by then will step into a beautiful era of clean energy. Not only do we have the opportunity to avoid this “vaccineless” climate crisis, but we also have the chance to build a new multitrillion-dollar green economy.

10 EASY TIPS TO HELP FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE

Psychologists say it takes three weeks to form a ‘habit’, so we’ve found 10 easy steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint and help in the fight against climate change.

MEAT FREE MONDAY: It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef as well as the destruction of 55 sq feet of forest for every hamburger. By reducing meat consumption, even by one day a week, this figure can be greatly reduced. The movement, created by the McCartney’s, believes that ‘One day a week can make a world of difference’ and celebrity chefs, such as Jamie Oliver, are supporting the campaign, making it easier to cook great food that doesn’t require meat.

BE WATER SMART: Water makes up 72% of the Earth’s surface so reducing your consumption is paramount to helping climate change. Leaving the tap on whilst brushing your teeth, for example, uses the equivalent of four gallons of water per minute; or 200 gallons a week for a family of four. In the UK several water boards are providing water-saving devices, such as showerheads and timers.

SWITCH TO REUSABLE: A staggering 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away each year in the UK and only 1 in 400 are recycled. By having and reusing your own, you’re not just helping the environment, often many coffee shops offer discounts too!

REDUCE FOOD WASTE: Did you know that an alarming 40% of our food supply goes straight in the bin? But more concerning of all is the amount of resource needed from farm to folk and beyond. Huge amounts of water and energy are needed to create the food in the first place and then to dispose of it. Buying only what you need can massively reduce your carbon footprint as well as your wallet.

CONTINUE WALKING: Air pollution in capital cities is at an all-time high and is the cause of considerable health issues, with 23% of annual carbon emissions coming from transport. During the coronavirus pandemic the UK has become more accustomed to walking, which has meant that air pollution has seen a huge decrease, it’s important that we continue to only use our cars for necessary trips once lockdown is lifted.

LOWER THE TEMPERATURE: Washing clothes at 30°C uses around 40% less electricity over the course of a year so you save money, energy and the planet by doing the same. If every household in the US reduced their water temperature for washing, it could save the equivalent of 100,000 barrels of oil per day.

UNPLUG YOUR DEVICES: You might be surprised to learn that all electronics consume energy when they’re plugged in, even if they’re powered down. In the U.S. alone, ‘vampire power’ is responsible for draining up to $19 billion in energy every year, so pledge to leave your electronics unplugged at all times.

GO PAPERLESS: Wasting paper can have a harmful impact on the environment in so many ways. It might also shock you to know that it takes an average of five litres of water to produce one A4 piece of paper. Switch to paperless banking and utilities to save even more time and paper.

BRING YOUR OWN BAG: Plastic products have a huge environmental impact – with the greenhouse gas emissions potentially exceeding 56 gigatons by 2050 if we do not reduce our plastic use. One-use plastic bags never completely break down, they are difficult to recycle and can seriously harm wildlife and marine life.

BUY LOCALLY: Coronavirus has seen a reduction in globalisation – businesses operating on an international scale – and has placed a strong need to buy locally. Whilst sometimes more expensive, buying locally often results in better quality products. Buying foods seasonally is equally important, as buying products out of season can mean higher carbon footprints due to the shipment of products from other countries or using artificial means to grow produce.

CAN CLIMATE INNOVATION SUCCEED?

Innovation thrives in a crisis, but what does that mean for climate innovation in a post COVID-19 world?  

Every industry has had to adapt amid the coronavirus pandemic; sporting fixtures have been postponed, gigs rearranged, and restaurants closed during their busiest period. The National Theatre has brought their world-class productions online, Pizza Pilgrims have created ‘Pizza in the Post’ and Envision Virgin Racing have even brought you Marbula-E 

Cyril Yee and Bryan Guido Hassin from The Rocky Mountain Institute both believe that crisis is the grandmother of invention, as humans have a long history of mobilising quickly and effectively to confront great challenges in times of crisis.  

The current pandemic is a great example of this however the world is undergoing another crisis – climate change. Huge resource is deployed into climate change, with global leaders holding conferences and major A-list celebrities discussing the topic, but this crisis has not attracted the same levels of intense innovation as the current pandemic. 

“We cannot afford the loss of an entire generation of climate tech start-ups.” – Yee and Hassin 

Climate innovation could be further at risk, the current climate shows that an economic downturn could further harm start-ups. Whilst climate innovators can be agile companies, they are often cash-poor and it can take years for the development of their new technologies.   

Billionaire philanthropist, Bill Gates, seconds this and believes that coronavirus will set back climate innovation, but not irrevocably. Gates spends a huge amount of resource on finding solutions for climate change and has noticed a shift in focus from climate change towards COVID-19, but he doesn’t believe this has to be a huge setback. Speaking on TED Connects, Gates noted that there were useful lessons to be learned during this crisis for climate innovators and has emphasised a greater need to listen to and work with scientists.   

Bill Gates: The healthcare systems we must urgently fix

We’re live with Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist and TED speaker, to talk about the healthcare systems in dire need of fixing. Ask him your questions in the comments! #TEDConnects

Posted by TED on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The world has already seen that pandemics catalyse innovation and often with it an accelerated need for change with an environment that allows for increased launching and testing of new ideas – SARS in 2002 saw a significant growth of ecommerce.  

Working From Home is the new normal– Zoom has seen a huge uplift in share prices since the outbreak – and the world can expect to see an increase in similar products to suit this new normal, where travel to work is no longer expected. There has been a cultural change amongst the outbreak that has already led to a change in perceptions and this stimulates innovation.  

Christiana Figueres believes that COVID-19 has allowed the climate crisis to be brought to the forefront of the world’s mind saying that “The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed humanity’s instinct to transform itself in the face of a universal threat and it can help us to do the same to create a liveable planet for future generations.”  

The current pandemic may have halted climate innovation in the short-term, but it has created a more profound basis for climate innovators moving forward. As the world returns to its ‘new normal’ it’s extremely important that climate innovators are able to thrive and capitalise on a new mindset – one less willing to travel and more aware of lower emissions during the pandemic – so that the ongoing crisis of climate change can be met head on. 

FIVE INNOVATIONS AIDING CLIMATE CHANGE

Read about some of the top innovations tackling climate change right now…

From reducing single-use plastic to harnessing one of the world’s leading payment apps to reduce the carbon emissions of individuals, here are some of the top climate and social innovations in the world right now…

Luft Parcel

Nearly 270 million consumers in Europe regularly shop online, with goods being delivered in single-use packages made from plastic bags and bubble wrap. Giuseppe Fasano, designer and co-founder of Luft Parcel, believes there is a need to end pointless plastic and has created reusable parcels for e-commerce. The inflatable parcel uses a patented design that can be deflated and folded into a compact size that can then be returned to the retailer through the post. By paying a deposit for the parcel when placing an order, it ensures that the consumer returns the packaging and it can thus be reused. Fasano believes the parcel could be reused up to 30 times and can be recycled once it has reached its lifespan – unlike regular packaging such as bubble wrap. The collective, water, energy and resourced used to create multiple conventional packaging is greatly reduced by using just one of the Luft Parcel packages.

Eco Wave Power

Creating pioneering technology, EWP developed innovative technology that produces clean electricity from ocean and sea waves and connects this straight to the grid. Co-founder Inna Braverman, who has been named one of the world’s most influential women, has been accoladed for her push to commercialise wave energy and transform the world’s energy mix. By using man-made structures, such as piers and jetties, the technology is extremely accessible. An agreement between EWP and the Gibraltar government will see 15% of the country’s power needs met by this innovative technology.

SpraySafe


Single-use plastic and plastic waste by consumers, particularly in food packaging, is a huge contributor to climate change worldwide. A team of scientists from the Polytechnic Institute of Braganca (CIMO) in Portugal set about creating a natural spray that could be applied directly on to food to help preserve it, without the need for films, plastics and polystyrene containers. Based on natural and edible ingredients, the spray forms a film that allows preserving food without using plastic.

Alipay Ant Forest

First created in China, Alipay is a leading online payment and lifestyle platform that now has one billion users worldwide. Harnessing its continually growing platform, the Chinese company used its digital technology to promote climate action to its users. By rewarding users with ‘green energy points’ every time they reduced their emissions, these points then grew into a virtual tree on the app – for every virtual tree a real tree was planted in a conservation area. Green points can be earned by doing activities such as, going paperless, buying sustainable products or biking to work, Alipay used their app and the data gathered, to show how technology can be applied to increase an individual’s efforts to tackle climate change. The platform has seen 500 million users sign up to the initiative and currently over 100 million real trees have been planted in the northwest of China.

Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia

Forming part of former US President Barack Obama’s ‘Power Africa’ initiative, Beyond the Grid Fund for Zambia aims to make affordable and clean energy at scale to people living in rural areas of Africa. By 2021 the project aims to bring modern energy services to at least 167,000 households, which translates to over one million Zambians – with over 70% of all the population having no access to modern energy in the first place. But what marks this project distinctive from others is the way in which the procurement line is evaluated and investigated. The main aim here is to lessen the social impact that the business will have on the people being connected, and therefore help the long-term growth of the sustainable energy market within the country.

SYLVAIN FILIPPI GIVES US THE ‘LOCKDOWN LOWDOWN’

CHECK OUT THE FIRST EPISODE OF NEW LIMITED SERIES HOSTED BY BECKY EVANS 

Sylvain Filippi caught up with Becky Evans in a new limited series hosted by the team, Lockdown Lowdownpresented by Harley-Davidson 

As a founding member of the Envision Virgin Racing, Sylvain has offered some fascinating insights into the beginnings of the championship, as well as its future, as the championship looks ahead to the Gen 2EVO and Gen3 eras.   

Filippi spoke about the team’s Race Against Climate Change initiative with the ‘Drift Queen’ and explained the importance of an increased uptake, particularly in city centres.

Notably, they discussed the future of climate change after the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic and how the virus could be a catalyst to an increased uptake in electric vehicles. 

 

“If you take a step back from the current situation and look forward, there’s such a big opportunity here.  

“The benefits of EVs are that you remove the pollution from where people live – the city centres. This doesn’t hit home for many people until you experience it but with the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve all been able to witness this firsthand. 

“I live very near to London and the difference is incredible, in a few weeks the air pollution has decreased by 80%-90%. It has shown that we don’t need to stop human activity to fix the planet, all we have to do – in terms of pollution in cities – is move to electric vehicles as quickly as we can.  

“I’m hoping that the coronavirus pandemic will change perceptions and accelerate the shift to electric vehicles and clean energy.”

Stay tuned for future episodes of ‘Lockdown Lowdown’.

FIVE CLIMATE CHANGE PODCASTS

GRAB YOUR HEADPHONES AND LISTEN IN, WE’VE CURATED SOME OF THE BEST CLIMATE CHANGE PODCASTS OUT THERE AT THE MOMENT.

‘Everyone needs to be educated on climate change because climate change and our response to it is going to change the world over the next 25 years as much as the internet did in the last 25 years’ – Joe Romm

Podcasting has taken the reins as one of the most popular forms of content, and for good reason. Climate change ambassadors are creating inspiring and thought-provoking podcasts, where discussions aim to inform, inspire and help listeners better understand the issues facing the planet.

Whether you’re looking for something to listen to at home during lockdown or even when out exercising, we’ve got you sorted with our top five podcasts on climate change.

HEATED


Hosted by Emily Atkin, a journalist who believes anger should be at the heart of the climate change debate, the podcast is an extension of the work she already does for HEATED. New to the medium, Emily decided to create a podcast amidst the COVID-19 pandemic to highlight that the climate crisis and corona virus cannot be separated. Running for just six episodes, the limited series hosts a variety of interviews with climate authors and connects the dots between the two hot topics.

Outrage & Optimism

A weekly podcast hosted by friend of the team Christiana Figueres, alongside Tom Rivett-Carnac and Paul Dickinson, Outrage & Optimism has become the most popular climate change podcast around, having topped the UK Politics podcast charts twice. Believing now is both the most challenging, but also the most exciting time in history to be alive, they aim to inform and inspire listeners. Joined by A-list special guests, the hosts have discussed what has made them feel outraged or optimistic in the climate change debate, alongside the likes of Ellie Goulding, Greta Thunberg and Richard Branson.

BBC Earth Podcast


‘Close your eyes and open your ears’
Following the success of their highly acclaimed television series, BBC Earth have created a podcast that takes you behind the scenes. Now on its third series, the podcast shares the experiences and untold stories from the crew behind the TV show. The series blends fascinating stories, unveils the harsh reality of disappearing species and gives you a deeper understanding of the BBC crews discoveries whilst immersing you in sights and sounds through the planet.

Hot Take


Mary Annaise Heglar and Amy Westervelt tackle the difficulties of talking about climate change, their aim is not to make the conversation bigger, but more inclusive. Stating that climate change is the undisputed story of our time, the duo believe that it is so overwhelming that we don’t know how to talk about it. They take a constructive and critical look at the current climate coverage with the ultimate goal of making the conversation more productive.

My Climate Journey


Boasting over 100 episodes, My Climate Journey is a podcast for listeners who are seeking to better understand climate change and how they can help. Hosted by Jason Jacbos, a software entrepreneur and founder of Runkeeper, he wanted to create something with meaning but didn’t know what that could be. Initially believe that climate change was too big and complicated a problem for him to tackle, Jason has now surrounded himself with people who are tackling the problem from a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives. The aim of the podcast is to inspire people to get involved and mobilise them to take action to help with the fight against climate change. The podcast takes you through one man’s learning curve and hopes that by joining his journey you will understand how he has arrived at the conclusions – adding credibility to his work.