From drones to genetic modification to blocking the sun.
The history of human invention has not always been kind to the environment.
Cars and coal factories have partly driven climate change. Early air conditioners tore a massive hole in the ozone layer. Pesticides have destroyed ecosystems and harmed wildlife. And now plastic is choking the oceans.
But some inventions rehabilitate, protect, and rejuvenate the Earth.
These inventions have become all the more necessary as the planet faces a range of existential threats from climate change to deforestation to ocean acidification, and more.
Drones That Plant Trees
Trees are essential for storing greenhouse gas emissions, filtering air and water, nourishing soil, providing food and shelter, and fostering ecosystems.
Yet the world loses 18.3 million acres of forest each year, or 27 soccer fields worth of trees every minute, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Planting seeds by hand always helps, but it’s hard for individuals to match the pace of industrial deforestation.
Read More: 'Trump Forest' Hits a Million Trees in Bid to Curb Climate Change
That’s why engineers across the world are coming up with high-tech solutions.
UK-based company BioCarbon is using drones to spray tree seeds throughout ravaged forests and claim they can plant 1 billion trees per year.
Mapping drones first determine the best planting strategy for a region, then planting drones hover six feet above the ground and fire seeds so fast that they get snugly implanted into the soil, according to National Geographic.