The Greatest Obstacles of the Green Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a phenomenal event in mankind’s history that marked a significant advancement in many industries and in technology. Today, in the 21st century, we are supposed to be in a new era where another type of “Industrial Revolution” is again supposed to take place. Called the Green Industrial Revolution, it is often generally described as an economical era where the use and acceptance of many innovative green technologies would become widespread at a global scale.
Somehow however, this transition hasn’t taken place yet, due to a number of traditional problems and limitations that current green technologies have. But even if we put those issues aside, there are still much bigger problems and obstacles that we need to face and eliminate first before we could even see the possibility for such a revolution.
The Entire Fossil Fuel Infrastructure
Fossil fuels have been used by man for many thousands of years already, but it was only in the 18th century when people started using fossil fuels in the same way that we do today. The Industrial Revolution itself, having occurred around the same time period, actually contributed greatly to the widespread acceptance and use oil and coal as we know it. The need for oil was sparked by technology, and eventually technology began to develop around this resource. Before we realized it, we soon found ourselves surrounded by coal power plants, internal combustion engines and diesel generators.
If we are to plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, a way to at least weaken this immensely powerful “economic entity” must first be devised. Spreading the word about the environmental dangers of using fossil fuels might be a fairly efficient method, but the only way to definitively strike a wedge at oil’s economic supremacy is to develop any green energy technology to the level of grid parity.
Lack of Any “Industrial Revolutionary” Source of Energy
The primary driving point that made the Industrial Revolution successful was the discovery that fossil fuel was a precious resource for generating energy. Oil and coal easily dominated the era because their direct competitor, manual mechanical energy (horses, sails, manpower), was far too inferior compared to their technological efficiency. The Green Industrial Revolution could have followed the exact same scenario, but unfortunately, we still don’t have that “technologically efficient” energy source that could make oil and coal “inferior”.
What could that breakthrough energy source be? Ask a couple of random people, and they are sure to give you completely different answers. Why is that? Because none of the alternative energy sources available today have the same overwhelming impact oil and coal had before (at least not yet). And if we are talking about impact that has to do with the mentality of people about energy…
Public Resilience to Accept Green Technology
We must also not forget that we ourselves also indirectly affect the delay of the Green Industrial Revolution. If anything, what we have only proven in this era is that we are so drunk and dependent on oil and coal, that even we as a citizen of the modern world is still part unwilling to instantly change the energy infrastructure that we have been so accustomed to. We sometimes label advocates of green technology with the derogative term “environmental hipsters”. We are sometimes critically negative when it comes to renewable energy development.
The old Industrial Revolution wasn’t just founded on new technologies and industries; it was also founded by the changing mental perspective of people during that time. Sure, hand-woven fabric may have suffered a decrease in demand due to mass production textile facilities, but people firmly believed that such change was necessary to move society forward. Today, we may be struggling to accept developing technologies due to cost and efficiency problems, but the positive mental attitude to accept these would-be technological changes early is a necessary element to accelerate their development.
The elimination of these three obstacles would not of course necessarily mean the start of the Green Industrial Revolution. It would just mean that the pathway has been opened, and it is still within our civilization’s hands (through continued support and development) to guide this new revolution through.
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