Vice season 6, episode 21 recap: ‘Engineering Earth’


The latest episode of Vice explored geoengineering and the implications it has for the environment.

On the latest episode of Vice, the show took a look at recent efforts to combat climate change. The show explicitly states that it has looked at the issue once every season, but this time the focus is on more innovative solutions to the issue using geoengineering.

While the idea of renewable energy is nothing new, the concept of geoengineering is something that isn’t typically brought up in the debate over the environment. Geoengineering is basically using technology to restore the planet to a natural state by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In short, it’s meant to respond accordingly to the Earth’s changing conditions rather than to prevent something.

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There are countless forms this can take, such as putting reflective sand on glaciers in the Arctic to build back some of the ice that has melted over the years. Another idea under exploration is creating thicker clouds in proportion to the increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere using salt sprayers. Thicker clouds mean that excess sunlight can be redirected away from Earth.

One final idea for cooling the planet off involves using chemicals that a volcanic eruption gives off. Research is currently being done on volcanic ash to see the potential it has to neutralize global temperatures.

In general, geoengineering may be easier than expected, as one plant in British Columbia is sucking the carbon dioxide back out of the atmosphere once it’s put there by human activity. But the plant is doing more than just taking the excess carbon dioxide. For once sucked up, that same carbon is being recycled and put back into usable energy like diesel fuel, but that particular diesel fuel is actually carbon neutral.

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But of course with any advance with technology comes with new risks, as geoengineering comes with the risk of weather manipulation to make one area more rainy than others. Time will tell not only how geoengineering turns out, but if the Earth is forced to use it in the first place.

What did you think of this episode of Vice? Be sure to tell us in the comments below!