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Tell A Tale Of Joyful Sustainability


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#1 iamlost

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 07:32 PM

<added>Apparently the title text box is longer than the allowable text, poor Κασσάνδρα (Cassandra).

Rather than bang the drum of doom tell tales of how to do things right:
The Earth Day Flogging, David Chernushenko, The Ottawa Citizen, 22 April 2008.

Sure, every item in that list is true. Some scary things were even left out. Our wasteful society is unsustainable, and we are all guilty of excess, at least occasionally.

But does a public flogging lead anyone to change? Will one more desperate plea to save the planet and ourselves actually inspire anyone, let alone entire societies and economies to adopt the progressive practices required?

Not likely. What might work, though - and this may be our last big hope - is to inspire people to pursue a better way of living. To show them that they can have more of the good things in life, but that they may just want to tweak their ideas of what "having more" actually looks like and what the "good things" really are.

...

Now what does marketing have to do with Earth Day and saving the planet? Quite simply, it's time for us greenies to rebrand "environmentalism," sustainability and even Earth Day. It's time to focus on how great the future could be, not how bad.

...

To sell the possible, we can use the actual: stories and images of people, and things and places that already are. Everything we need exists somewhere already and, as economist and philosopher Kenneth Boulding put it, "anything that exists is possible."

...

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to anything. All ideas must be considered and understood first, and then tailored as required. What does work everywhere is "solution banking": online, "open source" spaces where people, all over the world, and free of charge, share what they have done and the lessons learned, in the hopes of contributing to the design of that "100-per-cent good" society and economy.

The "geography of hope" is being built on more than just hope. It is also a geography of inspiration and confirmation. These many green examples can inspire us, excite us, entice us, allow us to dream of something better, and to know that it really is achievable. That sounds like a green marketer's dream. That sounds like a way to make Earth Day one of celebration, not flagellation.

I have read a lot of Earth Day writings in the past two weeks. This one caught my attention by offering an optimistic way forward (I tend to the doom and gloom path but there were so many I began to feel like one of the crowd rather than being lost).

Here on the wet coast there are, as down the US west coast, many alternate lifestyles. And many of them include sustainable living options. With the addition of the web new ideas are being introduced weekly. And the voices have become quite small 'p' political.

Thinking of Miriam's concerns - most (possibly all) the burgeoning vineyards (available due to climate change) use organic methodologies - and use it as a selling feature, the gypsy moth eradication program is managed and operated by volunteers with Ministry guidance to be as non-toxic and directed as possible - because no one wanted airspraying of chemicals, fundraise to buy land for conservancy purposes - just completed a million dollar acquisition of old growth acreage, etc.

Of course there are opponents - here usually the realestate and land developer types. And reasonably priced housing for island employees gets harder to come by each year (prices have risen 20% annually for the past 20-years). But what I find most astounding is that the problems have largely been identified and there are groups working on most, if not all, of them. In this neck of the woods grass roots run deep and grow high.

Hopefully our example, not necessarily of our solutions, but of our concern and engagement will cross to the lights across the water (Barry leaves his porch light on at night for us :)), get an urban component and spread ever outwards.

Did you know that a house and an apartment can create 50-100% of load power while decreases heating and cooling loads by the same amount? cut water consumption via greywater reuse and efficient appliances by two-thirds while effectively doing stage-1 waste treatment? build a heathy house without chemical or mold toxins while extending home maintenance cycles to 50-100 years? It is true. And there is more than one way to accomplish each goal.

Sustainability exists. Here a bit and there a bit. Time for more people to bring the bits together and get on with the 21st century.

And there are a ton of web site ideas and revenue streams in recreating our societal systems and behaviours for those looking for a coming bandwagon to jump aboard.

Edited by iamlost, 27 April 2008 - 07:36 PM.


#2 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 09:30 PM

I'd like to see some of the options to help us make these changes become easier to obtain and/or implement, and cost-effective as well. I would love, love, love to be able to go completely solar for all my household electricity. But the cost would be enormous, so unless the prices came way down, I couldn't do it. So we need to not only be shown a better way, but be given a fair shot at being able to implement the better way.

#3 bwelford

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 10:12 PM

Great thread, iamlost. .. and I did used to leave the porch light on all night too. I hoped someone in Mission just across the Fraser River might see it. However if it isn't doing anything for you, I promise to mend my ways. :)

One aspect of this is how to get enough people running with these ideas. For example, I'm appalled with the ton of printed ads I'm getting at the moment with my newspaper for automobiles. It's that time of year. But they're all SUV's. I assume that perhaps the explosive growth in the gas price will begin to get the message through to people. However how will everyone then show the Jones just how rich they are?

#4 iamlost

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 10:37 PM

It is coming Donna - courtesy in part to Brin and Page:
Large-Scale, Cheap Solar Electricity

...the company will be able to produce solar cells much less expensively than is done with existing photovoltaics because its new method allows for the mass-production of the devices. ...the company's technology will eventually make solar power cost-competitive with electricity on the power grid.
...the lion's share of solar cells are based on crystalline silicon, which is about three to five times too costly to compete with grid electricity...Nanosolar's technology involves a thin film of copper, indium, gallium, and selenium (CIGS) that absorbs sunlight and converts it into electricity. The basic technology has been around for decades, but it has proven difficult to produce it reliably and cheaply. Nanosolar has developed a way to make these cells using a printing technology similar to the kind used to print newspapers, rather than expensive vacuum-based methods.

The company is in production albeit only to huge utility grade projects at the moment and is sold out of the next years production. However, the company's blog does say that a residential version is in development.

The cool thing about solar is that as tech and scale bring solar prices down alternatives will continue to rise.

Here on the wet coast few use solar for electricity generation although there are a few hippy-dippy weird and wild systems about. Mainly it is used to preheat water for hot water tanks, pools, and hot tubs cutting water heating costs one to two-thirds. Nanosolar's R&D is being followed by several of us who share your desire.

The 'in thing' for heating here is a combination of passive solar and geothermal heat pump leveraging boiler served in-floor radiant heat. Even the local high school is heated and cooled this way.

So we need to not only be shown a better way, but be given a fair shot at being able to implement the better way.

As I said, a lot of potential domain ideas and revenue streams. Most existing 'alternate energy' sites are poorly designed or optimised. But the hobbyist and small retailer/evangelist is about to be deluged.

#5 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 06:03 PM

Interestingly, iamlost, I was just coming here to post about something very similar that I read on searchenginewatch - http://blog.searchen...g/080429-172757 and I discovered you had posted about nearly the same thing - but as far as i can tell, it's two different stories and two different companies, but both could make my dreams come true - sooner than I expected.

Sunrgi, a new solar energy system startup just out of stealth mode today promises to produce cheap electricity at wholesale prices: 5-cents per kWh (kilowatt hour). Google

XCPV (Xtreme Concentrated Photovoltaics) concentrates the equivalent of more than 1,600 times the sun's energy onto hyper-efficient solar cells, was announced today by Sunrgi, a solar energy system designer and developer, at the National Energy Marketers Association's Annual Global Energy Forum in Washington, DC.

The technology may enable utility companies, corporations, and residents to produce electricity from solar energy at a lower cost than has ever been possible.


and this:

The price is right: 5-cents is on par with the wholesale cost of producing electricity using fossil fuels. That would make solar power as affordable as coal, natural gas or other non-renewable sources


I may be long gone by the time this all "truly" comes to pass, but it's nice to think it's a very real possibility - finally.



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