WATCH: Elen Zhang - “The Answer is Smaller Than You Think: Nanotechnology”

From a young age, us kiwis hear the terms ‘clean’, green’ and ‘100% pure’ applied to our country.

It is a source of great national pride, something that has attracted tourists from across the globe for decades as they seek an ‘untouched’, ‘unspoiled’ little corner of the world.

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But it is a true reflection of New Zealand?

Mount Albert Grammar’s Ellen Zhang doesn’t think so.

In her presentation at this years Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Awards, Zhang suggests the 100% pure slogan is nothing more than a marketing myth, disguising the ugly truth of a nation with some serious emissions issues.

However, she also offers a solution.

Click here to watch her explain the potential of nanotechnology, a rapidly developing tool that may have the power to decrease energy use, pollution and greenhouse gasses, not just here, but across the world.

WATCH: Grace Cowley - "A Proposal for Geoengineering"

The concept of Geoengineering - a deliberate, large-scale manipulation of the Earth’s climate system to mitigate the adverse effects of global warming - has faced considerable scepticism in the 50-60 years since its introduction.

This is hardly unexpected; many find the notion of employing human, technological intervention to solve issues that were, in the first place, caused by human intervention and technology, somewhat oxymoronic.

However, as the effects of climate change become increasingly measurable and catastrophic, and scientists continue to voice their support of the idea, it may be in our best interests to shelve natural human scepticism and give the possibilities of geoengineering reasonable consideration.

This is the credo of Otago University student Grace Cowley, who’s presentation at this year’s Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Awards looked at how practises like solar radiation management and ocean fertilisation could be of significant aid in the battle against rising global temperatures.

Watch Grace’s presentation here.