17 Mar 2011

Innovating to Zero.

© 2009, Andrea Kirkby
With the recent earthquake in Japan and the subsequent problems in their nuclear power plants, nuclear energy and its alternatives - or lack thereof - are all over the news.

Our energy consumption is a complicated issue, one that provokes discussion, well-meaning but often badly informed opinions, hope and despair.

Many of us feel like we have lost control of our energy production. The feeling is justified. After all, we are no longer dealing with human energy, with our own ability to act, live and produce. A long time ago, we have chosen to use other, more concentrated fuel sources, in order to achieve more, faster and bigger results.

That decision has its advantages: look at how far we've come, look at our lifestyles and the possibilities we have to travel and look beyond our local communities, be it for food, news or entertainment.

But there are downsides too: we have to go through extreme measures to find or extract that energy, many of which might end up killing us. And as the population continues to grow, our energy demands might soon exceed the supply.

Related to this topic, I wanted to share a TED talk with you, given by Bill Gates in February 2010, in which he deals with energy, CO2, responsibility, a global vision on energy, and possible solutions for the future.

In this 28 minute video, 'Innovating to Zero', Bill Gates sketches a clear and orderly overview of our current energy situation, with its problems and possibilities. He doesn't paint a rosy picture, but shows there is hope. A lot of smart people are investing in and looking for alternative energy sources and solutions to existing problems.

Still, let us not forget it's not just their responsibility. It's ours too. The least we can do is be informed; that's where ideas and possible solutions can be born from.

Photo 'Nuclear' by Andrea Kirkby, available under a creative commons license. © 2009, Andrea Kirkby. 
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  1. I have a degree in Environment and Resource Management, so I usually perk up at stuff like this. I doubt I'll see much change in my lifetime from what we're doing now, but I'm hoping my son, who is a total brainiac and alternative energy enthusiast, will be a part of the solution. He's my hope.

  2. Hi L.G.,

    definitely a great field to be in! It looks like that's where some of our biggest challenges currently are situated.

    Energy, environment and resource management, all of it tied in with our social and psychological needs, as individuals as well as communities.


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