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Monday, September 06, 2010

Green Economy II: Change your way of thinking!

Time to put up another one, not that anybody’s been reading them, but I don’t care, I want to get this out there.

In the previous blog I’ve explained what the possibilities are for green energy and how it can help us, I’ll turn back to the original idea of a green economy. As said before, it’s basically an economy that has it’s support on green energy. The economy doesn’t completely support on energy of course.

In my opinion this, along with a change in thought by everyone could possibly save us from possible self-destruction. This change in thought is what I want to talk about in this part.

 

Basically, we need to step away from the idea that making as much money as possible is the most important thing in the world. Right now, people are taking unreasonable risks just to make money. Just think of what happened with the international banking crisis. Banks wanted to make more money, so they loaned people money while they knew these people probably wouldn’t be able to pay it back. This led to massive sale of houses, which made the housing market collapse, which in turn made the banks crash, but that’s a different story.

What we need to do instead of wanting to make as much profit as possible, is making as much money as we need. You only need enough to buy food, pay your bills and put a bit on a savings account for the hard times. A consequence of this is that we shouldn’t praise people for how much money they have and how much cars/clothes/… they have. We should make sure it’s no longer a positive thing to pollute and to show off how much money you have earned. It should be a positive thing when a CEO, or even just any employee, goes to work by bike/train/public transport. Now it is looked down upon as if to say they are doing something ridiculous or even something inappropriate by saving the planet.

Another major consequence of the fact people earn as much as they need instead of as much as possible, is that, I think, economy will be more stable. Now we’re reaching into hypothetical terrain, I can’t prove anything I’m saying next. It’s just what I think is one of the possibilities when a green economy actually arises.

What could happen is that we get a more stable economy, not pointed to itself and not fixed on making money by the buckets for a few. We could get an economy that is pointed outwards, wanting to help people. This would be an economy and a world where people are more equal and people get what they really deserve, and not what multi-nationals say what they deserve, which is often far less than they really deserve.

If the economy is more stable and people no longer take unreasonable risks to make money, crises may be rarer, and if they come they could be milder than what we have experienced these last years and are still experiencing today.

To this I’d like to add that it’s a very idealistic and utopic idea. People are too concerned about money, there is no way a change like this will ever take place without a major event being at the base of it. I had my hopes up when the banking crisis struck hard, but I’m already seeing we’re heading back to where we were before the crash, i.e. major bonuses, golden parachutes, pay raises for the executives,… I guess we have to wait for something even bigger than that.

11:08 pm - 1 comments - 2 Kudos
Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Green Economy I: Green Energy

First real blog on here, and I’ve decided to tackle a rather big one right away. This is something I’ve been thinking and reading about for a while. I will talk about “Green Economy”. I’ve divided it into a couple of parts, so it’s easier to read than just a huge wall of text.

What is “Green Economy” you say? Well, as you could guess from the name it’s an economy that is environmentally friendly and durable. This means one of the foundations of your economy is the energy sector and relatives. You can create a lot of jobs (in my country,  Belgium, it is estimated at at least 50,000 jobs) by investing in green energy.

Now, what are the possibilities for green energy?

One of the first things to do is invest in alternatives for fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Alternatives for fossil fuels are already possible and available. Hydrogen-fuel cell cars and Electric Vehicles are just 2 examples. The most viable idea is Hydrogen-fuel cars, because you can refuel it in much the same way as you can now with fossil fuels, which is one of the major problems with EV. Problem remains that making Hydrogen-fuel takes a lot of energy, which means there is again pollution, but of course far reduced when compared to pollution created by production and burning of fossil fuels.

Now, those thinking very critically may think: “What about jobs lost in petrochemistry because of the switch?” Well, the jobs lost in petrochemistry could be recovered in production of Hydrogen-fuel, and in other sectors belonging to green energy.

As said before, it’s not only fossil fuels that need alternatives, but also nuclear energy. Why?

There’s one important misconception certain people like to believe, and that is that nuclear energy is also green energy. I’m not saying these people are dumb or idiotic, I’m guessing they are misinformed about nuclear energy. It is indeed true that nuclear energy doesn’t produce greenhouse gasses, but nuclear energy does produce nuclear waste. This waste is harmful to everything around it for hundreds of years when not stored away safely. This means very large installations and buildings have to be constructed, just for storing waste. This means you do get pollution from nuclear energy, it may not be air pollution, but definitely radiation pollution.

What are some viable alternatives for nuclear energy? Well, most obviously, there is wind and solar energy. Solar energy is already generally accepted and used, in my country that is at least. Wind energy on the other hand has more problems. This is, I think, the problem of the NIMBY or Not In My Back Yard idea. Because this is applicable to anything that may cause a slight disruption of people’s usual lives, it’s also applicable in this case. People support the idea of wind energy, but as soon as it comes too close to their home or to their personal lives, they oppose the idea. They don’t want it near their homes, so they sue the contractors. The grounds they have for not building windmills near houses vary from ruining landscape, to causing dizziness by continuous passing of shadow over houses. That last thing couldn’t be an issue, because contractors have to make sure the shadow of the windmills never hits houses, this is stipulated by a very strict set of rules.

All I want to say is that people need to get over this irrational fear of wind mills, I’ve seen several built in natural environment (i.e. terrain of a farmer), and they don’t cause a lot of trouble. Perhaps some people can’t stand their sight, but they definitely don’t cause problems concerning noise, the newest versions can barely be heard.

A last point I’ll address in this part is insulation. By using strict insulation rules for houses, you can save a lot of energy. I haven’t got any hard numbers for this, mainly because it depends from house to house. I think this is a very important factor that mustn’t be overlooked. It’s important we don’t invest billions in green energy when houses and buildings just waste that energy by poor insulation.

5:25 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Saturday, June 26, 2010

So... let's get this started

Well, first time writer here… This’ll be just a place where I put things I’m thinking about. That means I could put texts on here that handle concepts and ideas I’m thinking about and working on, that means it’ll probably range from science to environment to whatever is on my mind. It could also mean there’s just a couple of lines with something interesting to think about, I’ll see how it works out… It’ll probably grow as it goes along, I’ve got a couple ideas about what to do you’ll see them soon enough.

 

For now, It’s just this one. And while I do realise how cliché this type of first blog is, I’m hoping the rest won’t be.

9:26 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos