Archive for December 2015
See what I did there?
That’s the catch phrase I have been using for ages now when mentoring wannabe entrepreneurs or those complaining about something, such as their council, badly run transport infrastructure or other matter.
In a nutshell, if you don’t do anything, nothing happens.
Which leads me to the outcome of the useless time wasting Climate Change Jolly* in Paris, #COP21. No doubt short for Cop Out No. 21.
So lets see now, to keep global temperature rises at no more than 2 degrees:
- Encourage carbon capture
- Focus on nuclear energy
Both of these technologies are sweeping a problem under the carpet for future generations to deal with, the former longer into the future than the latter.
Carbon Capture is tantamount to admitting that we have failed, so we’ll bung all the excess CO2 into a cave, seal it tight, and pretend it isn’t there. Which begs the question, what happens when it begins to seep out again, or it is accidentally released by future generations unaware of it’s existence or a natural disaster?
Next up we have nuclear energy. Agreed, it is the most effective alternative to carbon fuels, in particular if safer next generation reactors are used, (which they are not unfortunately). However, Chernobyl, and in particular Fukushima, have proven that unpredictable incidents and the one thing that worries me, entropy, can lead to catastrophe. And the latter is THE biggest threat to the use of nuclear energy, even fusion.
To see the effects of entropy, (the way chaos springs from order once there is loss of control), either visit (do don your pritective garb Bond!) the uninhabited town of Chernobyl** or watch the movie, “I am Legend” and other post apocalyptic films where mankind has been wiped out, letting nature and chaos take over. Once tough concrete and brick buildings crack and crumble thanks to a mix of weather and intruding vines.
My banner at the climate march in London Nov 29 2015 – Geddit?
Likewise, over time, nuclear reactors and their associated components require maintenance, and once in a while there is catastrophic failure. And that is without human error or natural disaster as was the case with Fukushima. Even ignoring entropy, there is what to do with nuclear waste, the real elephant in the room. As you read this, we have only been using nuclear energy for about 40-50 years, so the problem is still something for future generations to deal with. Beyond the risk of the stuff being used in a terror attack, (dirty bomb), as per carbon capture, if we don’t use nuclear by-products to produce nuclear weapons, we have to store it somewhere! And then what? What if entropy takes over in 100 or more years?
Few other potential sustainable energy sources suffer this issue. Solar, hydro and wind (in particular the former) are based on none destructive ‘clean’ technologies. Yes, batteries require polluting materials to manufacture, but they can be recycled safely, and already are, meaning there is no risk of landfill being polluted.
The You factor
We all know in our hearts that the solution to the frustration at these useless self serving conferences is the private sector. Tesla have just opened showrooms in London and Scotland, some smaller nations are now almost running 100% on solar energy, and that’s thanks to a mix of government funding of entrepreneur ‘powered’ innovative companies run by people with a conscience and compassion, rather than an interest in protecting their stockholders. As Apple and Tesla have proven, a company that is run that way will attract customers over a competing company with similar products but little concern for the environment. The public prefer clean products if given a choice, but if not, they will have no option but to take the dirtier path. (Hence most of us still drive gasoline powered vehicles because an affordable practical cleaner alternative does not yet exist, other than the bicycle.)
Your job is to start your own business offering people a 100% sustainable product, from biodegradable children’s toys (#SayNoToPlastic) to solar panel installation. Or how about personal mobile wind turbines that keep your gadgets topped up as you go, without any need to connect to the polluting grid? When you plug your laptop/phone/tablet into that socket in Starbucks, you have no idea where the electricity is generated!
I took this shot at the Climate Change march. (It’s blurry because it was SO windy that day, I could not hold my phone still. Ironic, all that wasted energy!) There were several people with these spinning turbines strapped to their backs, but they were not generating power, which gave me an idea...
The more we/you! do to get off the grid, the less there will be a need for carbon capture, nuclear energy and anything else you feel uncomfortable with unintentionally supporting.
Fight Slack Club: Just do it.
*Sorry. Damned autocorrect!, that should have read ‘Conference’.
Oh one more thing: When I was a lad, we were taught that a rise of even 2 degrees would be catastrophic, leading to unpredictable weather amongst other threats to the status quo. Well, our weather has become that way already, and we have not even got to 2 degrees yet.