torsdag 24. november 2011

Longlasting short-sightedness

The ice levels in the Arctic Sea once again lie close to the year of historic minimum, 2007. This was the year we didn´t get snow in Norway until January. We´ve had the warmest November ever, and still the snow is delaying. I feel like emphasizing the depth of nature´s connected patterns yet again, though it should be obvious. See the National Snow and Ice Data Center for more info about Arctic ice levels here.

I´m still amazed by humans ability to think incredibly short-sighted. How is it possible to ignore scientific knowledge because we have comfortable and cheap solutions within reach? How can it be so difficult to understand the need of sustainability?

It´s quite logical really, the math is pretty straight-forward. I will repeat it, just in case. It all boils down to one thing: we don´t have more than one globe. The consequence is: we can´t use more than the limited resources accessible. One plus five never equals one.

So we should use the resources available to develop sustainable solutions, which will last despite of population growth. Renewable will deliver energy for years and years ahead because we already have an unlimited power supply: the sun. In my eyes, developing yet other methods for squeezing the last drops of oil out of the already exhausted soil is madness. What we need is to think further than profit next year or decade, steering towards the "plan ahead"- mentality. Use natural and human resources for constructive solutions, not to create new problems which will delay the process more than absolutely necessary.

Global sustainability and balance is required within several fields, but perhaps most importantly concerning environment and economy. The two are closely related, so regulating one in the right direction will have positive affects on the other.

lørdag 5. november 2011

Luna Solar Energy

This is a visionary energy concept from the Japanese Luna Ring Shimizu Corporation´s researchers. The idea is to establish a giant ring of solar photovoltaic cells on the moon´s surface, to transport solar energy to the earth by microwave power transmission. I love their ability to think outside the box! Clean, concentrated energy transmitted directly from space seems like a comfortable solution to our global energy problems. 7 billion people definitely need clean energy.

There are lots of physical and ethical issues related to projects like the Luna Ring: among them the immense cost and technological challenges. Think about the initial amount of energy we would have to use for transporting all the resources and materials to the moon in the first place! And do we really trust ourselves enough to believe we would use the energy constructively where it´s needed, with no possibility of abusing the immense amounts of energy? A giant laser turned towards our own planet could lead to frightening possibilities. Who should be in charge of operating it? The richest, most populous, poorest or most prosperous country? All countries? How do we finance it, and which role would the contributors play afterwards? As in all cases where energy is involved, I believe thinking before acting would seem like a good idea.

You can read more about the Luna Ring project here.