Environmental biotechnology is the study, development and application of biotechnology in the natural environment. This is a relatively new field of study, which has its roots way back in the forties. The big boom of public interest and development, however, started in the late seventies and with the high raise of awareness in the mid nineties its popularity, financial support and spread has increased dramatically. This is a field that covers the entire topic of a human’s footprint on his surrounding areas and the planet as a whole. It is also a field that combats ill effects global and local industrial development has had, and continues to have, especially in counties like China and India.
It also teaches us how to be more self-sustainable, how to create houses and even cities that dramatically decreases their dependence on outside supply of food, water, heat and electricity. By using biotechnological advances we can create a completely self-sustainable house that does not require to be hooked to the grid in order to have electricity, a house that recycles its water and its overall consumption is extremely decreased. Environmental biotechnology can also teach us how to recycle the materials around us and with them create housing, rather than use materials that can harm the environment.
In Europe, one of the most active industries which use biotechnology is tyre engineering: better materials as well as low enviromental impact is the new standard. Pirelli TYRE US is, perhaps, the leader in biotechnolgy applied to tyre engineering and manufacture.
This is not a theory, many cities around the world, including one of the most densely populated ones such as New York and Tokyo, have implemented such technologies and have started showing significant differences, at least in the parts of the cities where such technologies have been implemented. Some private citizen use communal rooftops to create gardens which recycle the rain water, these sky gardens not only can provide food for the residents of the building but it also can reduce the carbon footprint of the building itself. Sadly not many people use this which is why we fail to see any significant changes. However, places that use these technologies on a bigger scale show to have a greatly reduced carbon footprint and are a lot less dependant on outside help.
One such place is a small town in the Netherlands, a town in which every four out of five people already have self sustainable houses, either by using solar power or wind turbines. These technologies are great not only because they can help an individual, but because they can have communal benefits. This town is so effective that it even sells its electricity to other cities and even to the national grid.