If the concrete industry were a country it would be the third largest emitter in the world—surpassed only by China and US.
Concrete, you can’t escape it. Modernity is almost defined by its overuse of concrete. Bridges, dams, skyscrapers…concrete and steel define man’s conquering of nature. Is this why concrete’s carbon footprint has gone largely unnoticed? Could be…or it could be that it’s in politicians interests.
Construction and politics are a very dirty and intertwined business… you can’t get one without the other—just ask the people involved in the odebrecht case. This causes political inertia when it comes to analysing the environmental footprint of the construction industry. On the contrary, more construction is celebrated by state planners who are glad to constantly propose more and more concrete-laden projects.
Austria Implements a Carbon Tax
Did you know that today concrete outweighs the carbon mass of every tree, bush and shrub on the planet.
So what is concrete exactly? A mix of…
- gravel /stones
Why is it bad for the planet?
- Concrete sucks 1/10th of the world’s water use
- Concrete’s is responsible for 8% of world’s CO2 emissions—during the production of cement
- Concrete intensifies climate catastrophes: eg. floods
- Concrete destroys habitats
Our once blue and green planet is becoming grey…we love concrete’s solidity but are its virtues worth its woes? Is it time we left our concrete urban fortresses and returned to our tree capped woods? We think so…
What can be done?
- Carbon Capture technology used when making cement
- Innovation: startups like BioMason
- Hempcrete: build using sustainable materials such as hemp