Saturday, February 20, 2016

Just by Using the Wind at Sea, and a Little Imagination

One of the nice things about an integrated solution to one problem is that it can often provide a great deal of leverage for solutions to other problems. Let me describe a possible case in point.

I have been advocating a Tornado Wind Turbine approach to produce Liquid Hydrogen at sea since the mid 1980's. Initially it was to be a part of a comprehensive plan to aid our space program (as liquid hydrogen makes a pretty good rocket fuel). I tried to do several state initiatives back then that would petition Congress to create a national lottery that would offer rides in the Space Shuttle as a prize. Neither went very far of course, but the energy idea stuck with me. In fact, as a part of a get signatures set-up at the University District Street Fair, in Seattle, the idea was forever changed by a conversation I had with someone there.

This person looked at the models I always took with me (the wind turbine on a wedding cake scaffolding, and the dirigible, blimp hybrid, which you see pictures of on my posts here), and stood by through several conversations I had with various fair goers, before he finally spoke. And all he said was (paraphrasing): "Why would you ever want to give such a wasteful economy such an immense potential energy source?" A response that left me more than a bit taken aback.

Over the years that followed, as I fell, quite reluctantly, into doing custom PC work and software development, that question would stay with me. Not only because I;ve always had this feeling that a society based mostly on money, and the selling of everything, was wrong in so many ways, but that I wasn't really looking at the big picture of how so many problems we face are interconnected, and require more broadly focused solutions. And in this energy had to be intimately involved in a much more comprehensive program for change.

And so it wasn't enough that a person might create a clean burning fuel, that individual also had to have that fuel be a part of a complete rethink on how we conducted our affairs as a people. Rethink all of the aspecs of what we do that makes us more than just wasteful, but outright destructive to the place where we eat, sleep, and try to be thoughtful, loving people to our families, our neighbors, and the rest of the world.

When you look at the news story I've included with this post you have to temper your compassion for the immediate suffering with some pointed questions. Sure, we've responded in the past with food aid, and a great deal of guilty hand wringing, but no real solutions to either the cause of extreme weather events that our emissions haven't helped at all, or to the underlying poverty that has always plagued these people. That's because to really address all of these things is to also address all of the other things we do that make up the notion of "Business as Usual." And in this not only has the commercialized world sucked up most of the resources they might have that would be valuable, it has made it damn near impossible for them to even begin to think of growing the food they need to feed themselves.

But here's a thought. Suppose you had an approach to energy production that built into it the need for a new commodity crop; as in hemp. Suppose further that the energy of this approach created only water as a byproduct of being used. If you also had a new kind of organizational model for how you got things done, you could deliver this fuel to these people, as well as set up the means for them to use it, without having to worry about who was going to pay for it. And in doing that you could engage them in the process of creating more of the support platforms that would create more of the Tornado Turbines that would also create more liquid hydrogen.

It doesn't stop there, however. Since you are already creating a new energy industry at sea, with what will hopefully be an effort effective approach to floating support platforms, why not also use them to create the floating cities that might prove useful in supporting that new industry. Cities that might also become pretty handy in addressing where we're going to relocate the coming hoards of displaced by rising sea levels, or unusable land for a host of other reasons.

This isn't rocket science. This is simply looking at problem solving with the bigger picture in mind, and having an organizational model that makes applying all of the imagination that we are capable of in play. Picture it in your mind and then see that it is possible. If you can do that then your neighbors can too. And if enough of us, and our neighbors, can then work with that shared vision, there is truly nothing we cannot accomplish. Something you can take to the bank of the human heart, confident of a great deal of interest.

El Nino-Linked Drought Is Ethiopia's Worst in 50 Years