Tag Archives: the future

Innovation: Drawing Water from Air

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I was fascinated by this story and was excited to see that the company (Element Four ) is based in Kelowna, BC.  Let’s hope it stays that way, but I suppose that’s a different story 🙂

My hopes are high as I read something like this, excited that a number of companies will turn their focus from how to extract the most blood (or in most cases, tar) from stones (or in the case of Canada, sands), bringing forth an era when we might actually be proud again of our scientific prowess.

What struck me most in this article was the commentary on water bottles (and the inherent plea that we need to stop drinking bottled water):

For the environmentally conscious consumer, the WaterMill has an obvious appeal. Bottled water is an ecological catastrophe. In the US alone, about 30bn litres of bottled water is consumed every year at a cost of about $11bn (£7.4bn).

According to the Earth Policy Institute, about 1.5m barrels of oil – enough to power 100,000 cars for a year – is used just to make the plastic. The process also uses twice as much water as fits inside the container, not to mention the 30m bottles that go into landfills every day in the US. But the mill also has downsides, not least its $1,200 cost when it goes on sale in America, the UK, Italy, Australia and Japan in the spring. In these credit crunch times that might dissuade many potential buyers, though Ritchey points out that at $0.3 per litre, it is much cheaper than bottled water and would pay for itself in a couple of years.

Now … why isn’t the Government of Ontario or Canada looking at companies like this and offering them MORE cash so that they can survive the recession (or state of economic calamity – take your pick), expand and become Canada’s new manufacturing / innovation vanguard?  That would take vision, and I doubt our governments have that.  They’re still too busy spinning their tires with 19th century laggards.

Excited Delirium Book: Chapter 28 (Kite’s Thoughts on Religion & Drive to NYC)

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Author’s Note: The following is Chapter 28 of the my online book "Excited Delirium". Please post comments. Please tell your friends about this story. If you’ve missed a chapter, please click here for Chapter 1 (Prelude) or here for the full index .

“So why are you so down on the Univists anyways?” Chaos asked Kite shortly after they left the US-Canada border guard station in Buffalo.

“All I said was that I didn’t want to listen to the bullshit-filled hateful crap that was spewing on the radio. I know it’s a good ploy for the drones at the border, making them believe that we’re holy and all by having that shit in the background, but that’s about as much as I can tolerate.”

It was a strategy that never failed. As long as they came through the border listening to Christian rock or the Univist talk channel, they could be wearing burkas with ‘I love Osama’ printed on them and they’d still get through because most of the border guards were into optics as much as anyone was. If they listened to WKRS, the Univist station call name which was short for ‘the cross’, they’d fly right through inspection. Continue reading

Green City to Rise from Desert

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What an awesome and inspiring story … from an oil community, nonetheless.

Full Story Here.

Moving from Critique to Leadership

I love the conclusion of this article:

We are at a moment when progressives will have to move from critique to prescription. As Naomi Klein argued in the Shock Doctrine, neo liberalism took advantage of past crises by having a set of coherent prescriptions ready to hand to advance to policy-makers. We are just beginning to define a new global agenda to replace the neo liberal prescription which has led into the current crisis.

Most progressives understand that there’s a language, a lexicon, a database and history that favours the Friedman-based mentality of cut/slash, reduce, humiliate and destroy credible programs, but we also know that there’s a better way.

I’ll go on record as suggesting that we use a number of the ‘collective’ tools such as chat forums and social networks to elaborate on strategies for pushing us from critiquing the status-quo to actually showing some leadership.

Next steps?

H2: The Future’s “Wondergas”

This story inspired this post.

Forget images of the Hindenberg. Picture a world run by a gas that has no emissions, no impact on climate change and ultimately, virtually no cost.

It’s a gas that’s the most abundant in the universe. It fuels our sun.

It’s hydrogen.

Almost 10 years ago, I remember reading an article with Wired magazine about the notion of creating a hydrogen economy. I then read Jeremy Rifkin’s “The Hydrogen Economy” and ever since then, I’ve known that there’s a better way.

The Wired article suggested that the total cost of creating a hydrogen economy would be somewhere in the neighbourhood of $100 billion. This would be the investment required to virtually end our dependence on oil. If the 10:1 ratio applied for Canada, the total investment (at the time) would have been $10 billion.

(By the way: Jim Flaherty just slashed $14.5 billion in corporate tax cuts and is spending anywhere between $5 and $20 billion per year on defense and security initiatives).

The only issue is that nearly $1 trillion is made each year selling oil to the masses. Giving up that kind of revenue would be economic foolishness. Right?

Think again: when consumers stop spending on gas, they will be able to save their funds for more productive activities, like health care, social spending and improving the infrastructure of our cities.

Also, companies that are started today that will be focused on hydrogen-consuming vehicles and buildings will be leaders in the global economy for decades to come.

Just think: if someone said, “you’ve got a chance to start the next Microsoft or Google”, what would you do?


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