Organic solar energy, batteries that can power homes or busses that can be transformed from diesel to electric without having to be taken apart are some of the initiatives that Carolina Meza and Frédéric Gheung have discovered whilst traveling the world.
Their objective is to identify actions that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and then tell the world about these actions so that others can implement them in their countries. Carolina, who studied environmental engineering at Universidad de los Andes, claims that, “Whatever happens on one part of the planet either positively or negatively affects the rest of the plant. Whatever solution is adopted to combat climate change will benefit the entire ecosystem.”
Her husband, Frédéric, who shares her passion, and who she met during her exchange program in France, explains that the voluntary project compiles testimonies on climate change and its solutions to achieve a more sustainable and “greener” society. The project is called One Climate One Challenge and it focuses on topics related to construction, transport, industry, energy, and collective organization.
The journey began in 2012 when they took advantage of the sabbatical year that the French government offers to travel to fourteen countries to gather experiences. They interviewed experts, locals, scientists, citizens, and entities to find out their points of view and worries about the subject. Based on their findings, they published a book with the same name as their project in which they present the stories. It is now available online.
Since mid-2016, the French-Colombian couple, who are now joined by their three-year old daughter Soelia, began traveling once again; this time they were searching for specific solutions. The second journey included Singapore, which was followed by Australia, New Zealand, Fuji, the United States (Hawaii, Houston, and New York), Colombia, and Finland.
Through their work, they want to make a contribution to designing the city of the future. For the Uniandes alumni, sustainable cities require a balance between three key elements: economics, society, and the environment. Carolina says that, “Life can be sustainable having the comforts that we need; however, we must rethink what this concept means. Some comforts for certain citizens in certain countries are not sustainable, but we can have fair comfort”.
The engineers are now working on a second edition of the book that includes the experiences that they compiled throughout the last ten months of their journey.
“…Being part of the solution is already contributing. I feel proud knowing that -as well as my daily contributions- speaking about the issue, promoting it and socializing it, the people begin to become interested and to think of strategies that they can implement”, Carolina Meza.
Silvia Caro Spinel, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was named vice-president of the Academy of Pavement Science an