Eco-technologies are no longer the privilege of specialist engineers and entrepreneurs. If the Green economy is to blossom appropriately, universal education from those able and willing to successfully communicate with all, through all generations and all branches of the populace, is now the key.
Having worked in multi-cultural contexts for 16 years on the promotion of eco-friendly technologies, the opinion I would like to contribute here is one which, although perhaps obvious is so often overlooked. In the promotion of the integration of hydrogen technologies, along with the majority of other eco-technologies, a fundamental issue should no longer be left to whether or not the technologies are available, so much as how we seek to apply them. Time and again the fundamental barriers here are cross-cultural political hurdles. Even economic ones need not be the ultimate doorstop. After all, once viable technologies are supported, inaugurated and applied, they can find their own fruition.
A basic overview of political support for eco-projects indicates that this will expedite their progress, as indicated in many locations across our planet. Ranging for example from the Scandinavian nations in Northern Europe, and Germany, to California in the USA through to China. When these nations or regions clearly carry out political support for ‘eco-technologies’, then the practical application of these technologies becomes accelerated.
Furthermore, the biggest hurdle to the progress of these technologies is when political issues are allowed to take precedence over their practical implementation. Which of these needs to be prioritized? The application of new technologies to avoid environmental damage and not to mention the re-stimulation of our economies, or the prioritization of political issues, at the expense of the speed of uptake of these readily available and vital technologies.
Astoundingly what exacerbates this issue still further are cultural differences. Having attended a plethora of expositions promoting environmental technologies across a purported international context, a can of worms never hesitating to ‘re-open’ is when brilliant technologies are suppressed simply due to a failure of adequate communication. One may argue that this is an obvious argument, hardly worth whinging about in any international context, yet here again, I bravely beg to disagree.
The adoption of eco-techs needs to be prioritized with even more energy, perhaps with vigor comparable to that in which new technologies are prioritized in any situation of modern warfare. Technologies are not being dissipated or adopted, surprisingly often on account of cultural differences. For example in my many years promoting the dissemination of green technologies in Japan, I have seen, in international expos, engineers flee from myself and other non-Japanese clients, the moment we enter a booth, simply due to a presumption that they cannot communicate with us until I speak to them in Japanese. Even then this recurring presumption takes considerable time for ‘the ice to melt’. A regular impediment to business progress for any unfamiliar with this cultural tendency.
Another is the modus operandi – as standard research will support – for Japanese corporations to take an average of 3 years before signing a contract with newly met non-Japanese corporations. Why one may ask? Again a cultural awareness indicates a rather methodical approach to the procedure of commercial machinations, during which new foreign partners are appropriated the time to validate their dedication to a prospective business agreement. Of course, potential partners eager to undertake business interactions, and unfamiliar with such time-consuming procedures, are often left disenchanted by this proving time. Unless an awareness of this is maintained from the beginning to the end of an international negotiation and the iron stoked constantly, many a very viable agreement can be lost.
Is it logical that the advancement of environmental technologies between one of the most powerful economies in Asia and other nations is lost on account of cultural predilections? Perhaps where pasta or pickles are concerned this is valid but surely not environmental health. Again in this context which needs to be prioritized? Clearly patience and compromise are essential, but they need not be excuses for avoidable environmental damage.
How are these barriers to be overcome? Here I advocate education. Education and marketing have for many generations been conceived as concepts at loggerheads with one another. Education giving us knowledge to progress in our society. Marketing never hesitating to facilitate the promotion of whatever is being marketed, even at the expense of veracity. Having spent so many occasions over the last 15 years recurrently popping the bubble of hydrogen prejudice arising from the Hindenburg preconception, my awareness of how essential standard education is to the advancement of our society has been consistently reinforced.
Were we to receive an education that led us to rationally assess the adoption of green technologies with a practical, scientific, and multi-cultural foundation, then the integration of these technologies will face far fewer of the aforementioned fundamental barriers. An education ideally ranging from all-encompassing universal instruction in our general education system, covering an overview of the technologies out there and those anticipated and required, through to on site presentations from corporations, presenting what they have to offer from an environmental perspective. All ideally supported and monitored by our governments, dedicated to the promotion of this priority.
The application of available technologies such as the inauguration of a shared with path-blazing personal FCEVs, is now as much a matter of political support as it is a matter of economics and technology.
The administration and the sharing of technologies, to overcome this lack of a ‘co-operative hydrogen supply infrastructure’, is a fundamental issue. Regions need not shackle themselves with a series of fragmented pilot hydrogen supply models, being multifariously reproduced, as opposed to an inter-compatible, integrated, coherent structure.
For the uptake of environmental technologies progress needs to be prioritized, the luxuries of culture, custom, and politics while accorded respect, need no longer be an excuse for inertia.
Source: Rob Tabatabai
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