Updated: Feb 20, 2020
Written submission: Justin Strharsky - Director/Founder, Unearthed Solutions
Justin is recognized as a leader in technology innovation in the resources industry. His writing on innovation in the resources sector has been published by the Australian Financial Review and the Journal of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Justin previously worked in the Silicon Valley, for both a large network computing company and one of the first companies commercializing artificial intelligence. Unearthed.solutions
Photo: Perth Panorama by Harry Strharsky
1. What are your thoughts about the claims that the climate is warming, the environment is being destroyed and that humans are the cause?
I feel that the scientific consensus is pretty clear that the climate is warming and that our collective human contribution to this is significant.
I feel like the claim that the environment is being 'destroyed' is a bit extreme, and doesn't promote much rational dialogue. The environment is being dramatically altered, for sure. 'Destroyed' is a matter of perspective. I don't view the nice city I live in to be a 'destruction' of the environment that was here before, but if I was an animal living on this land, I probably would.
2. In your mind what are the driving forces of climate change and environmental degradation?
Greenhouse gas emissions and land use changes seem to be among the top drivers.
3. Has your life been affected in any way? If so, how?
I live in Australia, in a region (near Perth) that has seen a warming and drying trend over the last 100 years. According to the state government, we've experienced a 20% reduction in rainfall, and 1.1 degrees of warming. This directly affects me and others living here in terms of how we plan and pay for things like produce and water. The government data also show more intense, frequent, and longer heat waves.
4. In your opinion, what needs to be done?
I'm not sure I have much to add above what's generally understood already.
At an individual level, we can:
Eat less meat
Have fewer children
Advocate for a carbon market (a mechanism to price emissions)
5. Do you consider yourself as part of the problem or part of the solution?
Both. I'd guess that business travel is one of the biggest sources of GHG emissions I'm responsible for. On the other hand, my business has directly contributed to reductions in use of water, electricity, and diesel in large industrial businesses.
6. What do you think the long-term outcome of climate change and environmental degradation will be?
I guess that depends on what you mean by "long-term", doesn't it? My understanding of the scientific consensus is that the climate will continue to be affected for some years by emissions already released.
On the down side, we seem to be in for costly impacts to health, conflict, and resource availability.
On the up side, the crisis could spur innovation and economic opportunities.