The destruction of Cyclone Gabrielle is another reminder that ‘business as usual’ and incremental change around climate change mitigation is over.
Dr Florian Graichen, General Manager for Scion’s Bioproducts and Biomanufacturing Areas and University of Waikato Honorary Professor, is looking to promote hope around climate solutions in his lecture – ‘The biggest adventure of humanity’ – saying that we can, and are, innovating a different way forward, a way paved with opportunities and rewards.
Dr Graichen wants New Zealanders to grab the ‘opportunities of a generation’ around climate change mitigation. He explores how we can move with urgency and still benefit from the global transition to a circular bioeconomy and how that transition might assure prosperity and equity for everyone.
Dr Graichen is at the forefront of developing biomaterials and solving related product and process challenges around transitioning to circular systems. He and Professor Kim Pickering co-lead the project Additive manufacturing and 3D and/or 4D printing of bio-composites where they’re looking at biopolymers and natural fibres to create new materials and products.
Scion is also an industry collaborator with the University of Waikato hosted project Āmiomio Aotearoa. The project brings together mātauranga Māori and western science to move beyond linear extract-produce-use-dispose material to a circular economy. “Partnerships across industry, academia, iwi and government are critical pillars for Scion,” Dr Graichen says.
Looking to cut through the climate despair, Dr Graichen references a number of projects that demonstrate positive disruption including used textiles to reinforce roading, biodegradable vineyard net clips and marine biofuel to support sustainable shipping.
He’s passionate that New Zealanders step up and grab these transformative opportunities. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step – let’s be brave enough to take this step,” Dr Graichen says.
Dr Graichen's public lecture will be held at the University of Waikato in Hamilton on Tuesday 14 March 2023.