The plethora of many initiatives to fight poverty, pollution impacts, virus spreads and other challenges contrasts with the limited number of solutions answering simultaneously.
For that we need to focus on 3 commonsensical criteria:
a) the timeframe priority related to the amplitude of risks and urgency
b) the highest leverage effects and returns on investment
c) the easiness, feasibility and rapidness of implementation
To prepare the future, we must look at our past. The three above mentioned insights are aiming at taking a look at how, where and with which stakeholders a disruption has good chances to solve massively burning issues illustrated by the 17 UN SDGs (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals) and the new IPCC report.
This starts with query number one: if sustainability is considered as a primary concern, does that mean that States have failed to track and to mitigate unsustainable practices? For example; when electric vehicles, communication devices and other goods are using as primary component minerals extracted or manufactured in an unacceptable way (e.g. with child labor processing, heavy pollution, smuggling), what is very likely illegally exported, is then legitimised throughout a whitewashing process. The responsibility lies both on the supply chain and on the custom clearing of the involved countries and cannot be superseded by the business of certifications.
To meet the zero poverty, zero emission and zero waste goals, we need to consider the fact we All generate, everyday, directly (from household) and indirectly (linked to our consumptions) wastewater and biodegradable resources, those valuable raw materials that can be up-cycled into vital products such as potable water, bio-electricity and bio-fertilisers. The outputs of the bio-refineries reduce production costs and risks. For example, bio-fertilizers are usually about 4 times more efficient and 8 times less expensive than regular alternatives: this can bring more food security, healthier intakes and boost our immune system. So Human Rights, efficiency and compliance can be achieved easily.
The United Nations Organization and public procurements, using funds from taxpayer, must prioritise goods or services with inputs from transformed wastewater and biodegradable wastes : those stakeholders know that 4,5 bn people still lacking access to sanitation, and wars –wars for water, wars for minerals/oil or any other highly sought resources- cost much more than serial production of bio-refineries e.g. to shift the defence industry.
Even if the UN, States and other catalysts start to prioritise the common good, disruption is needed to reduce the risks or re-abusing power. For instance, in 2019 the founders of Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA is supported with public funds) and other public stakeholders, disregarded my alerts to set-up routine detection of viruses in wastewater where the sewage networks enabled the early warnings of virus outbreaks. In Switzerland, some drugs and other elements were routinely analysed for years. There were many open source studies for detecting Cholera, SRAS, Poliomyelitis, ..etc.. in wastewater in order to identify the first contamination(s) 4 to 14 days prior clinic tests or symptoms. The genome of the SARS Covid19 was known in 2019. Mistreating civics and hiding the fact that the pandemic could have been drastically reduced or avoided means obscurantism and some wars began with that.
This leads to a second inquiry: how would the world be shaped if we adopt a bottom-up approach instead of present top-down?
To choose the global collective interest is possible through empowering people, corporates and municipalities to get their bio-wastes rewarded or monetized after having their wastewater analysed for virus detection. For example, in South Korea, toilets power a university building and enable students to get virtual currency they can exchange to get coffee, fruit, noodles and books. The International Monetary Fund approved 2nd Aug 2021 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) of USD 650 bn: distributed in bio-refineries where populations desperately need it would encourage countries receiving the majority of SDR because bio-refineries can be amortised in 3 to 4 years (with a warranty of 10 years) and therefore represent an attractive investment. Multiplying wastewater and bio-wastes transformation hubs also helps to better identify the sources of virus outbreaks and to reduce the systemic risks of centralized infrastructures through which the domino effects can costs a large number lives and/or other catastrophes if the worst case of a cyber attacks or other types problems of occur.
The third interrogation is therefore: what would happen if everyone could get the same power that commodity traders have to buy and sell goods (via pricing on futures markets) months or years ahead of deliveries?
The deposit of hedging or ordering goods is easy to calculate as we all, rich or poor, generate approximately the same amount of human wastes. For everybody to become provider of biodegradable resources; changing current status into future consumers of goods and/or services embedding bio-refinery outputs is only a matter of adapting the commodity futures rules and reversing supply chains with a margin covering some uncertainties. The future earnings should be allocated firstly to make sure that bio-wastes can lead to basic needs to be spent in a manner that every cycle of consumption and of transformation adds value to the bio-economy. The water footprint –see ISO 14046– is a good tool to set-up safety nets such as the need of 2’000 liters/day as water-footprint for 2’000 calories/day/person. The purchasing power thanks to reduced production costs and risks and to the monetisation of bio-wastes will create jobs.
Trading can also be the accelerator to support the scale-up of decentralised bio-refineries like for a vaccination campaign. Pollutions do not recognise borders, the needed rationality required to address urgent needs can be provided by ONE simple tool and shift of mindset to allow any person, corporate or municipality to benefit from their wastewater and bio-wastes through simple clicks enforcing the rules of international trade leaving no one behind.
Article written by By Valerie Issumo, WasteWater&BioWaste Exchange