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GOING GREEN

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message 1: by Wes, Moderator (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:11PM) (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
HAS ANYONE EVER READ ANYTHING ABOUT SOLAR POWER OR MAKING A HOME MORE EFFICIENT.
1. I AM LOOKING FOR TIPS OR ADVICE OR WHAT YOU DID TO GO GREEN...

2. DO YOU THINK IT IS POSSIBLE TO LIVE SELF SUFFICIENT IN THIS DAY IN AGE? (NO TECHNOLOGY OR MONEY GROW AND HUNT YOUR OWN FOOD)


message 2: by Ashley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) No I don't think anyone can live with out technology and money.We couldn't hunt for our own food because we are used to going to grocery stores and mini marts to get our food. These are the things we have come to adapt to. But, if you starve us of these things long enough, are savage/animal instincts will kick in.


message 3: by Wes, Moderator (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
what if all oil wells dried up tomorrow?
Think of how technology would be any good then.
No trucks to stock your stores.


message 4: by Jeannie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Jeannie | 13 comments People would have to learn to barter. Those who had room to grow things would have to trade for the things that could be made by those who live in crowded areas (clothing, shoes.....things like this).
We would have to learn how to cooperate in order to survive. We may even learn to appreciate one another.
Without our cell phones, computers, TVs, IPods, MP3 players, GPS gadgets, Play stations, X Boxes, laptops and what not........we may have to tune into our surroundings....family, nature and neighbors.

Gosh sounds pretty horrible ;>)

(I would miss my internet groups but having said that......I don't even KNOW my immediate neighbors :>(


message 5: by Wes, Moderator (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
good comment Jeannie,
With a famine on the rise due to no oil, since trucks cannot deliver to big cities the big city people would abandon the concrete and steel to places that contain dirt and trees. This would allow them to do subsistance farming. Or attempt at least.


message 6: by Shari (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Shari | 9 comments I think sometimes that it would be interesting to try to live with out the phone and car and my radio. I never grew up with tv so Inever put one in my home. I never had the money for all the new gadgets so that wouldnt be a problem. One day I couldnt get to the laundry mat so I had to hand wash all my clothes now that was interesting. The thing that I couldnt stay away it this silly computer this is how my family commuticate since we never see each other until reunions because of the distance between us. After I read stories about people that go without because of no money I begin to be very thankful what I have.


message 7: by Wes, Moderator (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
after industry fails due to lack of energy and fuel sources then nature will take back control of the earth. People will become more health and earth conscious. Water will become clean, smog would taper off, and people will become healthier with cleaner air.
All theory of course.


message 8: by Jim (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Jim | 112 comments I live without a car and I get a lot more reading done and don't feel any stress travelling from point a to b. sometimes when i don't feel like reading i'll sit up front and talk to the bus driver which most of the time gets a conversation going and the trip goes pretty fast. however when sitting up front i see cars pull over right in front of the bus and some drivers get upset and i can feel a little stress then which i'm glad i don't experience like i did when i drove everyday.
I like tv but i didn't have it for a few weeks except for a couple of channels - it wasn't too bad except i like tv when i have so many choices and can watch a concert,a movie or a game. i really didn't miss it. now i'll be on the computer and listen to a concert or sort of watch a game.
i really like the radio a lot more and listen to npr all the time - i can be on the computer and listen to the radio at the same time and get a lot out of both at the same time.
doing without tv,cars etc once you have them is hard at first but to me having sight, hearing etc and then losing them would seem to be much more devastating obviously but people have come back from that- i don'tknow any body like that. any books on that?
i have known people who have had control over their alcohol and drug use and have lost it and that's been deadly or life-changing and not for the good but people have come back from that
so not having a car,tv etc doesn't seem so bad to me.


message 9: by Wes, Moderator (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
Jim
If there is no oil then there will be no car or bus. The NPR speakers could not drive or fly to work. Big cites would run out of food in a matter of weeks.


message 10: by Jeannie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Jeannie | 13 comments I read a book titled "The Great Siege" by Helen Dunmore. The story was based on what took place when the city of Leningrad was surrounded during WWII. No one can leave, nothing goes into or out of the city. It did not take the city people very long to realize how dependant they were on those who provided them with food.

As a society, I feel that we have pretty much distanced ourselves from each other. Lost sight of the fact that we do depend on others. I believe that all of our technology and energy usage gives us a feeling of invincability.

To my mind, this is why it is so hard for us to convert our energy sources.....we would need to give up that feeling of independance. We would have to rely on others......which is kind of joke really. We are totally dependant on the big oil companies and they are having the time of thier lives right now. They've got us on a rollor coaster ride like never before.....we are now paying for speculation rather than "real" cost.
Good gravey........when did we let all of this happen ?
It is my opinion that all of this technology has dumbed us down rather than heightened our awareness ! We lull ourselves with our toys while those who seek to exploit us are having their way with us.


message 11: by Jim (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Jim | 112 comments seems a little too much all or nothing to think there all of sudden there will be no oil - a little more analytical approach to what society's facing might be a little more illuminating. The biggest problem is clean drinking water in particular and water in general - sometime in the future water is going to be more expensive than probably about any thing if you can get it all - the people in Georgia already know about it - but more people die from the lack of clean drinking water than almost any other cause - articles keep popping up about water wars - one related Dafur to being partially caused by water disputes.
oil may be replaceable by other sources of energy but there is no substitute for water.


message 12: by Wes, Moderator (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
IT MIGHT BE TIME TO INVEST IN A HORSE...


message 13: by Beth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Beth (lillybeth) try westernresourceadvocates.org for lots of info on renewable energy...

I'm really enjoying "The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850" by Brian Fagan. The last period of unstable climate change was relatively recent and altered politics, economics and history. It's not all doom and gloom; it's more about understanding climate change and the need to adapt to it...


message 14: by Jeannie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:51PM) (new)

Jeannie | 13 comments understanding climate change and the need to adapt to it...


Hm-m-m-m human's adapting to change ? What a concept !

Seriously, I don't think that it is all gloom and doom either. I just feel that the more desperate the situation the harder the changes will be. We as humnan beings tend not to change things until we hit bottom. Sometimes I feel as if half of us are running around flinging our arms in the air and screaming "The train is coming.....the train coming" and the other half is standing on the tracks enjoying the view,totally ignoring the fact that the dang train is coming.


message 15: by Wes, Moderator (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:51PM) (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
That dang train.
I don't think we should panic, I think we should prepare, learn, listen, and try not to rely on material things.


message 16: by Beth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:51PM) (new)

Beth (lillybeth) yea Jeannie...and lots of folks are on the tracks in big suv's....


message 17: by Robert (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:51PM) (new)

Robert (rgbatduke) Horses can be very tasty, Wes...

Oh, did you mean to ride? Umm, horses have a certain "pollution" problem that makes them unwelcome in most city streets.

I think it makes more sense to work politically to fund e.g. solar and wind energy sources. For a capital investment of around a trillion dollars, we could pretty much solve the energy problem at least in the United States. We've already spent what, a quarter of that on Iraq? We can afford it. We should afford it. If we'd spent every dollar we've spent in Iraq over the last five years on wind and solar, we would be generating several times as much renewable energy as is produced by all the oilwells in Iraq.

Of course the oil company buddies of a certain American President wouldn't have made the absolutely scandalous sums of money they made instead by manipulating the energy market during an interminable war -- a war they cannot really want to see end -- but it might well have taken a bit of the heat off, so to speak...;-)

rgb


message 18: by Wes, Moderator (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:51PM) (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
I think solar would be a great start to creating additional energy as a buffer. I think that all homes should start conversion to solar and that would be a huge improvement.
The wind energy idea is a lost cause, the research I have done on it says that it would only help in the flat areas of the U.S. due to the lack of wind on the east coast. I live in NC and wind is not common here. Plus those huge windmills in the midwest do not create a whole lot of energy considering how much space that they need in an open non forrested area.
I would ride a horse and create jobs for street sweepers. It would be great for the economy...
I don't have anywhere to park a horse though cause I live in a condo with one parking space in a paved lot.


message 19: by Robert (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:52PM) (new)

Robert (rgbatduke) Well hey, son, I live just down the road apiece from you, and wind is not common in PARTS of the state. I also just watched a very, very interesting show on the History channel that reviewed alternative energy sources and there are new, vastly improved wind generator designs that are much more efficient, turn in much lower winds, are "symmetric" and turn no matter what the direction of the wind. Finally, a wind generator is cheap -- a few hundred dollars each for generators that can make as much as a kilowatt. Solar-electric is horribly expensive by comparison.

On the coast or in the mountains are places where the wind blows a lot where they'd probably work well, and would work at night as well as they day. The point is that when the wind blows, they generate electricity and pump it back into the grid. If you own one, your electrical bills are thereby reduced as the power companies are obligated to buy back the power. They, in turn, have to produce less electricity and burn less fuel.

There are also variations of solar-electric that are not so much per-household as per community -- large collectors that are basically solar-thermal generators. NC gets lots of sunshine, and generators like this would produce the most electricity precisely when it is most needed to offset air conditioning in the summer. There are two primary designs here, one that uses sunlight to point e.g. water and the steam to generate power, and another onoe that is perhaps more intriguing that uses sunlight to heat the air, which then rises, is trapped in such a way that it is funnelled towards a huge "chimney" in the center of the passive solar collecting area, where it goes up the chimney under high pressure, turning turbine blades as it expands out into the cooler, less dense layer of air a couple of thousand feet up. Spain and Australia, for example, are either in actual production or are building prototypes of both kinds of generators.

In NC we have the opportunity to use our mountains to make extraordinarily inexpensive generators of this form -- ones capable of generator 100s of megawatts, mind you, over most of the day on hot sunny days, saving tens of thousands of tons of coal. Take a mountain with a south facing slope that rises 1000-2000 feet over the plane below. Cover the slope with with black concrete with embedded overheat supports. Fasten e.g. plexiglass sheets onto the supports and seal them in such a way as to create a square kilometer or so of greenhouse on the slope, with the side edges closed off and the top sealed and shaped to funnel towards a SHORT tower on top -- one a mere 500 or 1000 feet to reach to an easy 2000 feet above the plain below, or even higher.

The sun hits the slope, heats the blacktop to perhaps 100C, well over 50C hotter than the ambient air even on the hottest of days. The "cool" air on the plains below is pulled into the base of the greenhouse, is heated as it runs over the blacktop and heat-exchanger rods that help support the roof, and expands. As it expands, it becomes less dense, and is displaced upward by the denser air from the outside, establishing a flow in the only direction it can move -- upslope.

As it flows over the slope, it warms still more, expands still more relative to the outside air, develops more of a pressure differential with the outside air (which is if anything cooling as one moves uphill). It reaches the top at a very high temperature -- likely hotter than boiling water -- and at a significan overpressure relative to the outside air. It enters a tube (the tower on top) whose only opening is hundreds MORE feet higher -- perhaps a half a mile above the plane below -- and hence at a much lower pressure -- and is pushed up with great force. As it rises, it turns turbine blades and makes electricity.

A nice thing about this design is that if the "greenhouse" is arranged so that it can be covered with mylar sheets as the sun goes down, trapping heat in the blacktop against radiative losses, it will keep working for at least a while after the sun goes down as the air outside cools faster than the heated rock and concrete and asphalt on the inside. If it ran for just 2-3 hours more during the summer, it could support air conditioning all day long and the use of AC and electric lights during the peak evening hours before slowing down as the slope was itself cooled by the flow of cooler air across it. This could result in enormous savings in fuel at peak times.

A second nice thing about it is that it is CHEAP for a plant capable of producing hundreds of MW. A million square meters of plexiglass, a million cubic meters of concrete, what amounts to a big "smokestack" at the top, a pile of structural elements -- maybe 40 to 50 million in actual materials costs, 200 to 250 million in total construction costs. It would pay for itself at standard power rates in as little as three or four years, and forever after it is producing power for the cost of the humans who oversee its entirely automatic operation and perform routine maintenance on it...

Interesting topic, actually, although not necessarily right for goodreads. Although it is your list and you can do what you like on it...;-)

rgb


message 20: by Wes, Moderator (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:52PM) (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
I agree that solar is a great idea but at the cost of natural preservation I would not recommend Wind Generators granted they may be cheap but they are also an eyesore.
I would hate to think of someone stripping the face of our beautiful mountains to pave the surface and turn it into a powerplant of sorts.

This is not something I would recommend at all. I think that placing solar pannels on roof tops of houses is less of an eye sore. There are developemnets of cheaper solar pannels and systems to tie straight into the current grid from your home saving customers money and making it so that the power plants need not produce so much power.

If your system produces more power than you use then the power companies actually pay you depending on where you live. We need to be more self sufficient and less dependent. If power goes out you should be able to go out to your power source and reconnect your own system back up.


message 21: by Robert (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:52PM) (new)

Robert (rgbatduke) Sure, but if you're trying to be Green, you need to think about fairness, impact, and so on. Solar panels, especially high efficiency ones, are loaded with Arsenic. Batteries are generally made with Lead or Cadmium, although there are some less toxic alternatives.

Germany doesn't care about the eyesore -- they want energy and comfort and to save the planet. So they are building wind generators like mad where ever it makes sense. There are places on the NC coast where the wind blows 10-15 mph maybe 2 out of 3 days. Wind generators are made with iron, copper, some plastics. Ordinary stuff, not terribly toxic and easily recycled. Thermal convection generators are big, yes, and powerful, yes, but you don't need a lot of them to make a LOT of power. Solar generators -- the serious ones that are far cheaper and capable of actually feeding a power grid -- are big and some might find them ugly. I personally think that they look very cool.

Now I'm not a believer in "anthropogenic global warming". I personally think that Mr. Sun is by far the most important driver and that greenhouse gases are a weak perturbation of climate changes that are almost completely driven by solar activity and solar-system or whole-earth scale events. I believe in LOCAL warming -- cities are blanketed in CO_2 and and made of concrete and hence register a steady climb in temperatures over s century or more. But that doesn't matter -- burning fuel is still expensive and foolish, as we have better things to do with both oil and coal than burn it.

One way or another, a plan to reduce reliance on "easy" fossil fuel sources has to a) be able to realistically produce the energy we need, or think we need, or want to need, or whatever; b) is almost certain to create problems of its own. If all wind generation does is create "eyesores", I'd consider us very lucky. Square kilometers of solar panels might work too, if they were rigorously rebuilt and recycled. Home solar panels would be fine IF we ever figured out how to make an efficient, non-toxic solar cell that could be sold for (say) $100 a square meter and had other nice properties.

Don't get me wrong -- I like passive solar as well, but I just don't see it being cost competitive even over a 10-20 year period. Maybe this will change. If it does I'll reconsider. In the meantime, we should be putting up whole banks of wind generators in places they make sense.

rgb


message 22: by From (new)

From (_fromana) | 11 comments So let me ask: In the spirit of going green, do we

A. Continue our book buying/swapping/ mooching collections (face it going into a bookstore, one is never enough) or
B. Turn to technology to get our read on? Ebooks/Kindle/etc...


message 23: by Wes, Moderator (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
Books no question Your Kindle could break one day and then they are gone


message 24: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (danielt) | 7 comments Wes, I believe the books you purchase for your Kindle through Amazon are saved on your Amazon account. So if you have to replace/upgrade your Kindle, you can still get the books you purchased back without buying them again. (I don't have a Kindle myself, so I don't know the details of this, but remember reading this a while back in one of the reviews.)


message 25: by Wes, Moderator (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
and what if by chance amazon goes bankrupt



message 26: by Daniel (last edited May 29, 2009 11:31AM) (new)

Daniel (danielt) | 7 comments Well, I guess it could happen that Amazon.com could go out of business (different than going bankrupt, as a business can still operate in bankruptcy), and that no other company would buy its assets. On the other hand, the books you own in your house could also get destroyed in a fire or flood. I'm not an actuary, so I can't calculate the odds of any of these events happening. But nothing in life is totally permanent or absolutely guaranteed, right?


message 27: by Wes, Moderator (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
true, true


message 28: by From (new)

From (_fromana) | 11 comments I don't have a kindle however I love how much space I would have and and money I would save on bookshelves. I'll face it I'm a sucker for my gadgets.
But at the same time I can't imagine doing away with the books I already have / read / dog eared / highlighted and spine cracked. Its a dilemma!


message 29: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (danielt) | 7 comments I don't think you have to choose either a Kindle or the books you own, Ana. Nothing would stop you from having both. Besides, there are plenty of authors and books not available on the Kindle yet -- and perhaps some that never will be. (I don't personally own a Kindle myself, but do find it compelling.)


message 30: by Catherine (new)

Catherine (catarinacanhota) | 52 comments I'm getting into this discussion a little late in the game, but to answer the original question, yes it is possible to be self-sufficient and live off of the land. The problem is most people have no idea how to do it, and there are way too many people in this country to allow room for everyone to live off of the land. There is a reason that artisans and others became a merchant class in Europe. Everyone fending for themself is not an efficient way to do things.

The second thing is defining technology. A garden hoe is technology. Are we talking technology related to fossil fuels and electricity specifically? If so, the question is do we really want to live without the technology we have? What can we do without, and what do we need to maintain to sustain a decent quality of life?

There is a lot of criticism of the alternative energy sources we have at this time, but we have to start somewhere. As a teen and young adult, I watched the iron and taconite mines in northern Minnesota become depleted and extinct. It was at that time (late 1970's) when I realized that our resources were not infinite. We need to take a good look at what we really need and what is just plain unnecessary. People in the United States seem so unwilling to move toward smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles. There is also the problem of mass transportation. So many people aren't willing to give up driving their cars everywhere they go, or there are no other alternatives where they live.

In the late 70's there was a proposal to develop a network of light rail lines in the Minneapolis, St. Paul area. Thirty years later, they actually completed the first line, only after Gov. Jessie Ventura bullied the legislators who are in the hands of the highway construction lobby to pass it. Ridership has surpassed expectations (well, duh!).

There used to be a train running between Detroit Lakes, MN and Fargo ND when my 84 year old father was a young man. Now there is Hwy 10 and a steady stream of traffic going back and forth every morning and evening. I would welcome a trainride twice a day, especially in the winter!

My point is, obviously, there is a lot we can give up right now that would not cost us any great change if we are only willing. We need to conserve what we have as we develop and perfect alternatives. It should be considered a show of patriotism to drive a small, fuel efficient car or take the train or bus.

Wind farms are starting to become a more familiar sight in North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota and Minnesota. The towers, blades and turbines are being manufactured in Fargo and Grand Forks giving local peole jobs. I have to say, there is something beautiful about being on a wind farm; all of those blades turning silently in the wind high above you, the dance they seem to do as they all turn in syncopated motion . . .

Another option that I don't think has been discussed is geothermal energy. Just burying a set of pipes undergound at a certain depth keeps the temperature of water at a steady 56 degrees so it only needs to be heated a above that. It works well for cooling in the summer as well. A school I used to work at was desgined to use geothermal energy and it has worked very well.

That's my 2 cents (OK maybe 10 cents due to inflation!)


message 31: by Sam (new)

Sam (ecowitch) | 42 comments I think it is possible to live off the land without reliance on fossil fuels, modern technology and money. There are numerous communities across Europe that do just that, they sustainably farm everything they eat with small scale mixed farming, they source water from local springs and dig their own wells, they make all their own clothes and their buildings are made from wood from their own sustainably managed woodlands. Everyone in the community chips in with their own skills and ideas and everyone works for benefits of themselves and the community as a whole.

I think the biggest problem we have with regard to living sustainably is the fact that everything is global now, food is imported from halfway around the world, same goes for clothes, cars and other consumer goods. This has resulted in local communities no longer being able to sustain themselves as the skills to do so have been lost.

Our reliance on technology to get us out of this mess is also a problem as people seem to be waiting for technology to solve all the problems and aren't willing to make personal changes instead. At the end of the day everyone will have to change and the longer the problems are ignored the worse they will get and the bigger the changes needed to slow/stop/reverse the damage we have done.

Governments don't help matters by sending out conflicting messages, on one hand they expect people to shop locally use their cars less etc but on the other they keep building big roads and out of town shopping parks which you can't get to without a car. I try to cycle as much as possible and yet the new Cardiff City Stadium 20 mins from the city centre has no cycle racks (so I have to lock my bike to a lamppost, not impressed) while there is enough car parking that a small airport would be proud of.

On the subject of renewable energy, wind farms are meant to be a stop gap as the technology is designed for use for 25 years after which it needs to be upgraded, by which time with proper investment the turbine can be smaller and more sensitive to wind. But people need to except that these things are needed and not object to every single wind farm that is put in for planning permission. Solar panles can be useful too but as pointed out elsewhere they do contain a lot of dangerous chemicals which can create their own problems.

Although renewable energy is a brilliant idea and will improve and progress as time goes on, people still need to think and act on reducing their own energy consumption (relates to relying on technology to solve the problem without having to act) so we wont need so many wind farms, solar panels etc. The use of more efficient appliances can help but only by so much.

The same prinicple can be applied to working and shopping habitats, people may be good with energy saving at home but lose it when in the office or out shopping and forget that to switch things off when not used or leave things on stand by when they finish for the day. And what about all the energy used to produce the many many consumer goods that people buy regularly? What about the energy used to make all the high street fashion clothes that are bought worn once or twice then chucked out when the next lot appear? Lets not forget the energy that goes into making books, dvds, cds etc and of course the new e-readers which are potentially just as bad over their life time as I'm sure their batteries need recharging fairly regularly.

I think every aspect of peoples lives need to be looked at carefully by each individual and efforts not just targeted at certain areas as the good work done in one area can be cancelled out by the lack of effort in others. A good book to help people on their way to greener living which helps you make small changes first then moving on to bigger changes in all aspects of life is It's Easy Being Green A Handbook for Earth-Friendly Living by Crissy Trask. It helps get behind all the blurb and get down to the nitty gritty and has a checklist that you can use to start making permanent changes for a greener life style.

And don't worry guys it can be done just concentrate on your own individual personal choices and others will follow, no problem is that big it can't be solved with a bit of effort :-)


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