Climate Change is the greatest threat to mankind’s future survival and residence on this planet.
Climate deniers and doomsday sceptics believe it’s either a hoax or that it’s too late, but there are many optimists within the scientific community who feel that the human race’s salvation is achievable, and a climate catastrophe is preventable. Every human being on the planet is being urged to make simple changes to their lifestyle, to reduce carbon footprints, champion sustainability, go green; adults are being encouraged to inspire children and children are voicing their concerns to adults that their deepest fears - of crumbling coastlines and extreme weather, of scorched skies and an uninhabitable planet - are starting to echo through their nightmares.
The core debate at COP26 in November - and the big questions reverberating from it - were: can we do it quickly enough? Can we reverse the damage done as well as prevent even more unfixable damage… and if so, how do we do it? As with many historic, world-changing crises before, human innovation has often been the key to solving man’s greatest problems.
Professor Sa’ad Sam Medhat is the founding Chief Executive of the Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange (IKE) and the Chief Executive of the STEM Foundation. The IKE is a professional body for innovators and is best known for benchmarking innovations in many sectors, including defence, education, energy and transportation. Professor Medhat has had an expansive career in engineering, education and business. He has worked with Philips and IBM, created and sold his own businesses, before acting as a visiting professor to a number of universities, including the University of Westminster and the University of Suffolk, where he instructs on innovation.
Michelle Medhat is currently the Director of Operations and Strategic Development and is the Executive Director for operation and direction of the IKE Group. With almost 30 years of experience in the field of marketing and management, Michelle also has a passion for improving STEM education and responsible innovation.
So, what is responsible innovation?
Responsible innovation is when you consider the impact that research and innovation will have (before the innovation is pushed through to full societal or cultural benefit). Prof. Medhat and Michelle (the Medhats) both feel very strongly that responsible innovation is of paramount importance when tackling the climate crisis.
Government and Innovation
The government is largely responsible for ensuring that more responsible innovation is taking place in society. Professor Medhat explains how the government has a role in promoting and investing in responsible innovation… and what it means.
Professor Medhat explains that educating people on climate friendly innovation and solutions is very important in the fight against climate change.
The manana state of mind
Both Prof. Medhat and Michelle feel strongly about the concept of a ‘manana’ state of mind, meaning that climate action is continually talked about day after day, but nothing is done about it - and procrastination is the thief of time.
The last few years have been unprecedented. Living through a pandemic is hard enough, but the weight of climate change on our shoulders has made the experience even more intense. However, the last couple of years have shown us that science is constantly developing and improving.
Covid vaccines and antiviral pills have been created, manufactured and released all within a matter of months. So where does that leave us with climate change? Perhaps if the government invested more time and money into education and responsible innovation, we could accelerate our way out of the climate crisis, the same way we have done with Covid.