A really popular swedish brand presented few months ago a new set of curtains produced with a fabric that absorbs co2 thanks to a process comparable to photosynthesis. We have no idea about the exact amount of co2 that this material is capable to absorb, but it seems a great idea. Anything that contributes to improve wellbeing in our homes must be considered a step forward. We also appreciate and admire innovation and novelty, and new materials are one of the most important areas of learning, because to be aware of a new one and to apply it properly can make better any project. Many of the advances that have been made in our history have been thanks to new materials, and you only have to look at the age of bronze, the iron one, or the so-called age of silicon to realize, so well done guys!
Going back to the current situation to hear about these new curtains makes us have a few existential doubts. It’s probably not a fault of this swedish company or their new product, it's more about how the information is presented, or even more about the impact that this information can have in the non specialized public. Our first doubt is about this amazing skill that the material have. Does it absorb a sufficient amount of CO2? Does this absorption balance the probably higher environmental impact that this high tech fabric has in comparison with an environmentally friendly one, like for example recycled cotton? Is this new material also better in terms of CO2 absorption than a more -let's say- rudimentary solution like for example a plant?
The same happens to us with other great initiatives like this fungus discovered in pakistan capable of "eating" plastic, air purifying towers in China, the concrete that absorbs CO2 thanks to a layer of titanium oxide, or a buoy that filters microplastics designed by an amazing group of young students from Valencia. Actually many companies are studying how to balance their emissions planting trees, and this option at least uses what nature has been developing during millions of years. All of these ideas are in the right direction to help us solve some of the problems that we have already created, or at least to alleviate them.
The issue here is that sometimes media presents them like the solution to climate change and other environmental problems created by us, and they can even be understood as a justification to continue living and growing at the same rate. No restorative solution such as recycling or increasing CO2 sequestration will place us on the right line by itself, although of course they can be helpful. Rethink and redesign our products, our production processes and our consumption model in a radically different model will. That will force a much greater effort than just choosing a curtain model or another, but of course the result will make it worthwhile. There really is no alternative.