Hopefully by now you have received word of our theme for the 2020 Clean Tech Competition: Reducing Individual Impacts. It is a theme that all of us involved at the competition think is something that speaks deeply to all who are concerned about our environmental future. Really, the future of everything we know. I myself struggle with this daily. I want to be as sustainable as possible, use as few resources as possible, waste as little as possible. And I try, as I am sure many of you do. But I am also sure many of you struggle with finding ways daily, just as I do too. Our society has developed to a point where somehow cheap, single-use items have become easier and more convenient that something more durable and reusable. Where excessive use of anything (food, water, electricity, etc.) is more the norm than a conservative path is. So we wanted to do something about that. Wanted to try to inspire someone somewhere, really a thousand someones everywhere, to find a way to make it easier to reduce our own, personal impacts. So hopefully, someday, a billion someones can reduce their impact, to truly make that impact felt and effective.
While we recognized that most of us wish to reduce our impacts on this planet, we also recognized there are billions of humans on this planet. Each of them, is in their own unique situation, and often this unique situation makes our impacts radically different. A rural farmer in a Bolivian village does not have the same conditions as a businesswoman in a Canadian city, and their impact is forged in a much different way. Which is why we felt it prudent to establish our categories as recognizing of this fact: Limited Resources and Abundant Resources. Having a different resource base is intrinsic in how you impact the environment. Yes that farmer may use less plastic than the businesswoman, but they certainly use more land and as their nation grows, themselves and other farmers will need more land,, which needs more water which means less drinking water for more people, and so forth and so on in a million ways. And while the businesswoman may wish to use less plastic in her life, her lunch she buys comes on a styrofoam plate, the coffee shop she visits only has plastic cups, the water bottles she buys because her water line is tainted only come in plastic and she has no way to reuse them.
These scenarios may vary widely, but there is one thing in common: they both arose because for the longest time, people did not care, did not think it mattered. But now, people do care. They do think it matters. They KNOW it matters. And for our 2020 Spellman HV Clean Tech Competition, we want to help find a way to let that caring matter. So please, send us every idea you have, because we need them all. We are incredibly excited to see what everyone has to offer, and we know every single one comes from a place of caring for the environment.
In the end, is that not what really matters?