Archive for July, 2016

Decentralized Energy for Health

July 28, 2016

This week’s news that Switzerland’s Bertrand Piccard flew a solar powered plane around the world without a drop of fuel sends our hopes soaring. We could not receive a stronger signal that help is on the way for alternatives that meet our energy needs.

Solar is but one of the new technologies in need of our attention and support if we want to make the shift to 21st Century technology. As far back as 2013, The World Energy Council recommended that utilities markets move toward decentralization. This would give customers more control over their power usage in their homes or businesses.

In January this year, HydroQuebec (HQ) announced that the Northern Pass Project (NPP) would cost $2.8 billion but HQ would only pay $607 million. New England would pay the rest. That does not sound like energy savings for NH or control over power usage. And there is no guarantee that a power failure further north would not generate a massive outage to the south. NPP is a grand example of stifling 20th century technology.

Long-term contracts for large scale hydropower from Quebec will not bring cheap or lower consumer electric rates, as HQ has already demonstrated with their Newfoundland Churchill Falls 40 year contract.

What might NH develop if so many citizens did not have to throw so much time and energy into stopping the NPP from destroying NH land and diversity, pitting families against each other, and threatening our future water supply by degrading our water-sequestering forests? People come from the world over to savor our lush forests, rivers, mountains, waterfalls, and wildlife. All are threatened by this and the many other NH projects Eversource plans to pursue.

Solar and other yet-to-be-developed energy sources clearly demonstrate the power of decentralized energy to avoid large up-front capital investments and encourage pay-as- you-grow systems.

Time to embrace 21st Century technology, reclaim our right to safeguard our forests, diversify our energy technologies, say NO to centralized utilities, and enjoy the health and well being that comes with care-full actions.

 

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Here’s to Recognizing the Milieu for Health and Happiness

July 5, 2016

We feel challenged by earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, strong winds and usually reach out to those around us to pool our resources and support each other. Great kindnesses are reported. We reach to save the world and all therein.

The spin side of this is that when we are not threatened by such events, we tend to indulge ourselves with less concern about saving the world. Healthwise, the Earth is in crisis. Take your pick: threatened water, not only in limited supply, but by contaminants; weakened soils; lack of sustaining work for many people; weak infrastructures, such as old dams and bridges in need of repair or removal; increasing senior population in need of health care; dwindling sea foods from contaminated oceans; increased transport of viruses and insects no longer contained locally due to travel ease; questions about our chemtrail footprint and more, threaten our health.

In the last century, Tielhard de Chardin wrote about the Divine Milieu and Dietrich Bonhoeffer gave us A Testament to Freedom. Both document how crucial to our health is our ability to be kind to people everywhere, not only in the US. Today, writer Rebecca Solnit, in A Paradise Built in Hell, documents the “Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster.”  Solnit researched five US catastrophes: hurricanes, earthquakes, and 9-11. She found that most people are altruistic in such situations.

Yet we need to continually remind ourselves to figure out how we can best share and care for each other and the Earth. Lists rating the top ten healthiest/happiest countries in the world vary depending on the bias and due diligence of each researcher but some countries crop up on everybody’s list. US is on nobody’s top ten list. Okinawa in Japan gets top billing for health. Several people on Okinawa live 110 yrs. with a big plus for quality of life.

We could learn from common habits found in top ten picks. They have strong, inclusive social networks and feelings of social responsibility that permeate the culture. This includes acceptance of a higher tax base that funds health care and education. Fewer people work long hours; they enjoy gender equality, have low crime rates, less corruption, and more jobs. Top tens also tend to have transparent governments, safe water quality and more public trust.

Top tens value plenty of exercise. They walk, use public transport or bikes, daily practice Tai chi or some form of movement that keeps everything moveable tuned up.  Okinawans favor plant based diet as their foundation, eating lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, and seaweed; small amounts of protein (fish/meat/eggs/nuts/seeds), fat, and alcohol.

Health and happiness depend less on how much we have and more on how much we share and care for each other all over the world every day. Time to reorient selfies with others.