Monday, February 4, 2013

Three Stories

From Aljazeera

Earthrise, Al Jazeera's environmental program, ran a show back in July 2012 which I missed. But I've caught it up now, and I'm a bit excited. It covers three stories: wind generators in Kenya, end-of-life plastic reuse in Ireland, and land reclamation in Indonesia.

If you haven't read Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano,

 or Cory Doctorow's Makers,
from the website
you really should. They are both about humans and their relationship with their monkey-brains, about our inveterate need to fiddle with stuff. And they're both really good reads.
In Kenya, approximately 82% of the population is off-grid--entirely. They rely on batteries and hydrocarbon fuels for power. Access Energy, a local company, uses re-purposed parts and re-used automobile alternators to build not brilliant, perfect wind generators, but appropriate-tech wind generators that can re-charge cell phones and power a light. Which takes care of a large number of the power requirements the off-grid Kenyan's have.
In Ireland, the urge is the same; to take waste and re-purpose it into something useful. Only this is re-using end-of-life plastic to create synthetic diesel. Endlessly more complex than the wind generators, but born of the same need.
And in Indonesia, a born-again tin miner works to repair the damage done by himself and those like him. Here, desolate cratered land is transformed by energy and cows into something beautiful and livable. A model project for restoring lands we'd prefer didn't get destroyed in the first place.

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