Last week we focused on ZERI (Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives), a growing organization of scientists worldwide that promotes the principle of zero waste. All manufactured products and materials manufactured, as well as the wastes generated in the manufacturing processes, must eventually provide nourishment for something new. In other words, ZERI’s philosophy is to design life with zero waste! Through an analytical methodology, called ecodesign, communities are organized into business clusters where one’s waste is another’s resource. Struggling communities are being transformed into ecologically sound business networks.
The week before last we focused on Permaculture, a global movement teaching agricultural practices attuned to nature; practices that if applied globally will feed all of humanity—abundantly. Permaculture is a methodology that also embraces the principle that in a healthy ecosystem, the only waste generated by the system is the heat energy of respiration that is radiated into the atmosphere, but is replenished continually by the sun through photosynthesis.
This week I will introduce you to three more powerful entities that are engaged in the right action to turn our De-Evolving world into a healthy world of abundance for all. They are BrightSource Energy Inc, The Rocky Mountain Institute and Bright Automotive.
As with ZERI and Permaculture, these three organizations all look to nature and her ecosystems as their guide to correct actions. One obvious fact of life is that all life requires an energy input, and the ultimate source of energy for the biosphere is the sun. Without the sun there is no life on earth. It is the ultimate renewable source of energy. It is free, clean and unlimited. By adapting solar power as our source of energy, we are duplicating nature.
How does nature capture the sun’s energy? Let’s review photosynthesis. Autotrophs are fundamental to the food chains of all ecosystems. They take energy from the environment in the form of sunlight or inorganic chemicals and use it to create energy-rich molecules such a carbohydrates.
Photosynthesis is the means autotrophic organisms (like green plants and cyanobacteria) use to secure energy in the form of glucose. The equation is:
Carbon Dioxide + Water + Sunlight = Glucose + Water + Oxygen.
Respiration is the means by which this stored energy is released. The equation is:
Glucose + Water + Oxygen = ATP + Carbon Dioxide + Water.
Once the glucose is formed, the plant then takes the glucose and combines it with oxygen and water, producing the energy molecule ATP, which is used throughout the cell to fuel its metabolic processes necessary for a healthy functioning of the cell- healthy growth, repair and reproduction. This is the process of respiration.
“We tend to believe that plants grow out of the soil, but in fact most of their substance comes from the air. The bulk of the cellulose and the other organic compounds produced through photosynthesis consists of heavy carbon and oxygen atoms, which plants take directly for the air in the form of CO2. Thus the weight of a wooden log comes almost entirely from the air. When we burn a log in a fireplace, oxygen and carbon combine once more into CO2, and in the light and heat of the fire we recover part of the solar energy that went into making the wood.” (Capra, The Web of Life, p178).
In the natural food cycle, the source of all life energy comes from the sun. This is a foundational fact for all of life’s ecosystems. It is free, sustainable and clean energy. Therefore it makes sense to consider solar energy as our primary source of fuel for our human communities.
One of my favorite environmental activists is Robert Kennedy Jr. If you have never heard him talk, you will really enjoy the clip I have for you. He is the lead lawyer and member of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the founder and CEO of Water Keepers, and is on the board of the largest green technology investment firm in the country. In this clip you will see his excitement in his presentation recently regarding BrightSource Energy Inc, before the US Congress. This link will take you to the BrightSource website home page. On the right hand side you will be able to click on Kennedy’s presentation.
Mr. Kennedy believes in an open market place that rewards good behavior, which is efficiency, and punishes bad behavior, which is inefficiency. He points out: “Right now we have a market place that is rigged to favor the dirtiest, filthiest, most poisonous, most expensive fuels from hell [fossil fuels]; and that we need to design a market place that rewards the clean, cheap fuels from heaven [solar power].”
He reminds the Senators that virtually everyone has a PC today, but that it was only a few short years ago when the internet telecommunications industry was in its infancy with only a handful of people owning computers, so much so, that IBM pronounced the internet technological revolution as dead! What it took was one year of setting up the national grid and then allowing the free market to compete—and the rest is history. Today the cost of information is next to nothing.
The same thing will happen with energy. Kennedy maintains that we have the ability to build solar thermal power plants through BrightSource Energy Inc, and all we need is to coordinate the construction of these plants to our present national grid and allow for the free market to compete.
BrightSource Energy is the world leader in building solar-thermal plants. In this clip of a Fox News interview you are introduced to BioSource’s CEO and President John Woolard. Go again to the Bright Source Energy home page and you will see this video link also on the right side. BrightSource has just signed a contract with Southern California Edison to build a 1.2 gigawatt solar-thermal plant for Southern California. About eight months ago they signed another contract with Pacific Gas and Electric for another gigawatt of solar energy. That is 2.3 gigawatts of solar thermal they are going to bring on line in the next two years!
“Once the plant is built the energy if free forever. The electrons are hitting our country for free every day and if we build these plants out across the country we could provide 100% of the energy needs for America for about $750 billion dollars. That is less than we spent on foreign oil every year. It would take only one year to pay it back. It is not only the ultimate renewable energy but it is totally clean energy.”
Next we will look at the Rocky Mountain Institute and its amazing founder, and CEO Amory Lovins. See Amory in this interview with Charlie Rose.
Rocky Mountain Institute is a nonprofit organization, established in 1982 by resource analysts L. Hunter Lovins, and Amory B. Lovins. What began as a small group of colleagues focusing on energy policy has since grown into a broad-based institution with approximately eighty full-time staff, an annual budget of nearly $12 million (over half of it earned through programmatic enterprise), and a global reach.
“Rocky Mountain Institute® (RMI) is an independent, entrepreneurial, nonprofit think-and-do tank™. We envisage a world thriving, verdant, and secure, for all, forever. To that end, our mission is to drive the efficient and restorative use of resources.”
When we look at Permaculture two weeks ago, I made the comment that industrial agriculture was dripping with oil and absolutely unsustainable. It is the second largest consumer of petroleum, with the first being the transportation industry. I stated that the deployment of Permaculture technology worldwide would dramatically reduce agricultures need for fossil fuel.
The transportation industry accounts for 70% of our petroleum consumption; not to mention the terrible blight that it inflicts on our environment. This presented the perfect type of challenge and project for the Rocky Mountain Institute to take on. In the following clip, Amory Lovins and Michael Brylawski talk about their revolutionary transportation solution—the Hypercar.
They presented their prototype electric Hypercar to the big three, before the economic collapse that has consumed us all. They all declined to take it on! It is interesting to think what would have happened to GM or Chrysler if they had taken the project and built new cars. But one company did listen to RMI, and that is Bright Automotive. Interestingly, Bright Automotive is a company that is made up of ex-automotive industry executives from the big three.
In their words: “In January 2008, Bright Automotive launched from Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) with the goal of building on the work of a consortium of organizations, including Alcoa, Google.org, Johnson Controls and the Turner Foundation. Together we mapped an automotive solution to tackle the challenges of our economy, air pollution and diminishing oil supplies”. (see link below)
Bright Automotive secured the right to the Hypercar technology and now is in full production. See the following interview of John Waters, Bright’s CEO.
Some futurists say that these major change possibilities won’t unfold for several decades. I find that way to pessimistic. We just start at home, get involved in some way, and get others involved in doing something for the good of our environment. Showing our support for companies such as these will create an intensified worldwide movement, and we will see results in a couple of years.
The premise for Therapeutic Foods is that the plant’s De-Evolution process has rendered our body systems weak to invasion, toxins, and disease. Utilizing the extracts and whole foods in the line brings aboard the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant powers that the fruits and vegetables use to protect themselves against the environmental assailants and toxins. Eat 5-9 serving of vegetables and fruits a day as your base, and add to that the therapeutic power of the extracts and concentrates, the natural minerals (Fructo Borate, Chromium with Beet), the different fibers (Original, Beta Glucan and No. 7), and the various probiotic strains, to form your platform for healing and preventing disease. As our world needs a healthy ecosystem so does our body—to reverse the emerging signs of the De-Evolution process.
The Last Quiz Answer: This gorgeous duck is a Mandarin Duck, closely related to the American Woodduck. The species was once wide spread in Eastern Asia, but large-scale exports and the destruction of its forest habitat have reduced populations in Eastern Russia and in China to below 1,000 pairs in each country; Japan, however, is thought to still hold some 5,000 pairs.
Summer time brings the best fruits and vegetables, why not get a few pots of food plants such as tomatoes and cucumbers, beans or squash, and watch them grow right on your porch or veranda. Here is a picture of the communal garden I have planted at our condo building, a project that brought us all together in such joy. We take turns watering and bring our guests to watch it grow!