Connect with us

Environmental

2016: Watching The USA Bet Big On Solar Power

Published

on

The Arab oil embargo of 1973 catalyzed the development of today’s modern solar cell (PV) technology. In 1974 American Congress passed five energy bills, two of which supported solar as a potentially valuable solution to the decade’s energy emergency. But despite government-wide initiatives launched by President Carter throughout his term in office, America’s “solar coaster” ride dipped in the 80s, 90s, and well into the contemporary era of climate change concerns — that is until very recently, when solar tech once again began to assert itself as the answer to our increasingly complicated energy crisis.

advertisement - learn more

According to a new report, “The Next Wave of U.S. Utility Solar: Procurement Beyond the RPS by GTM Research, 2016 will see more than half of its new utility-scale solar built outside of obligations to meet state-mandated renewable energy requirements. The economic competitiveness of solar — for utilities, corporations, and homeowners alike — is finally evolving to change the way everyone in America views energy.

Solar Energy Hits Home

No matter where you look the world is aflame with disputes over vital resources. The real issue driving much of today’s turmoil is our continued reliance on fossil fuels, which pollute and intensify the effects of already-observable global climate change. Most people know that solar energy can protect the environment by replacing combustible fuels, but they are unaware of how to get involved or if the initial investment will turn out to be worthwhile in the long run.

The increasingly cost-competitive nature of solar power has encouraged more businesses to make the technology and installation process easier for homeowners to understand than ever before. Google’s Project Sunroof, for example, puts Google’s expansive map data to use to help anyone calculate a “personalized roof analysis” that will aid in planning the perfect solar plan.  

In another effort to bring solar electricity to homeowners, pay-TV service DirecTV has recently partnered with solar lease providers SolarCity to establish a new program that gives customers the option to “go solar” when a cable TV technician visits their home. SolarCity is also the first solar provider to integrate energy services through a “smart home” technology provider, following their recent partnership with Nest. By establishing relationships like these, it becomes easier for the average consumer to incorporate the benefits of solar into their daily life. 

By installing solar panels, individuals and families take ultimate control away from energy monopolies and “decentralize” the grid. In this model, utilities no longer own the generation, and homeowners can use the solar-harnessed electricity for their homes or sell it back to local power providers. For those who profit from the burning of fossil fuels — investor-owned utilities and Koch-brothers-funded interest groups like American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — the rapid growth of small-scale solar now poses a considerable threat. In sunny states like Nevada, Arizona, and particularly in Florida, the skies have darkened for clean energy as a result of fiercely obstructive legislative policies. But there is no question that today, solar won’t go down without a fight.

advertisement - learn more

Solar Energy is the Ethical Choice

By choosing to obtain energy from the sun rather than fossil fuels, customers are given the opportunity to improve air and water quality standards while simultaneously fighting the power of “Big Oil.” Burning fewer fossil fuels for power means fewer cases of asthma and lung disease, less contamination of local water supply systems, and improved public health overall. According to a new study from Harvard University researchers, solar and other renewable energy projects deliver health benefits to the tune of over hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Solar power is also the key to sustainable growth. Current economic and environmental predictions prove the reality of anthropogenic climate change, but the use of solar systems in developing parts of the world (such as sub-Saharan Africa) allows for the growth of flexible, eco-friendly energy infrastructure and improved economic prospects. With low-cost solar options, the people in these nations can avoid dirty sources of energy like diesel fuel and coal to industrialize their economies.

The future of Earth and humanity will be built upon the foundation of strong renewable energy technology. The government may not be able to decide how to solve the world’s fossil fuel problems, but many innovative individuals have already begun to design and implement solutions. It is time for us to listen to clean-energy innovators who have our country, and our world’s, ethical interests at heart.

Holographic 2020 Lunar Calendar

An art piece and lunar calendar all in one. This calendar features moon phases for every day of the month for the entirety of 2020.

Hologrpahic foil set on a dark 11" x 11" poster makes the moon's phases shimmer as light strikes them in this unique art piece.

Buy yours here!
Advertisement
advertisement - learn more

Alternative News

Two Guys In Mexico Created Vegan Leather From Cactus

Published

on

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Adrian Lopez Velarde and Marte Cazarez have found a way to make "leather" out of cactus. It's one of many ways we can stop harming animals and start to implement environmentally friendly practices when it comes to developing some of our products.

  • Reflect On:

    When it comes to such products, the best thing you can do is vote with your dollar.

Although there are some heart-warming stories that are coming out of Australia right now, it’s truly devastating what’s happening there, especially for the animals. Approximately 1 billion of them have lost their lives due to the fires. In the midst of all of this, however, let’s not forget about the fact that hundreds of millions of animals are killed every single day for human consumption, as well as products that we buy, like clothing, for example.

Compassion is the main reason that the vegan market is thriving, and continues to grow, from food, all the way to to the manufacturing of multiple products. There are hundreds of examples to choose from, and one of the latest comes from Adrian Lopez Velarde and Marte Cazarez.

After finishing university, they found themselves growing more and more concerned about the environment and the treatment of animals, and as a result decided to come together, after years of friendship, to create a cruelty-free alternative to animal leather. They recently debuted “Desserto,” which is an organic leather made entirely from cactus. It’s the first of its kind.

The product is a great replacement for both animal and synthetic leather. It’s breathable and durable, the touch and feel is very similar to leather, and again, it’s a completely sustainable material. It’s also less water intensive, free from phthalates, free from toxic chemicals as well as PVC-free.

According to Vegan First,

The duo showcased the product last month at the International Leather Fair Lineappelle in Milan, Italy.

advertisement - learn more

Plant-based leather alternatives are a growing market, with innovators turning to pineapple, olives and coconuts to produce eco-friendly materials. Earlier this year, high-street retailer H&M unveiled a vegan jacket made from pineapple leather, while German footwear brand thies launched a line of leather shoes made from olive leaves. Closer to home, Kerala-based brand Malai fashions leather and accessories from coconuts!

It took the inventors two years to come up with the material. ‘Nopal leather’ is made through a series of processes that produce a powder which is then mixed and layered over cotton canvas. The recently presented the material at an international exhibition in Milan.

Things are changing quite rapidly on our planet, with a shift in consciousness in so many different areas, we change the world as a human collective. One of many great example comes from the fact that America’s largest milk producer has filed for bankruptcy.

The world is changing, and it’s changing fast, we are currently in the process of a great transformation, and have been for quite some time. Exciting times!

Holographic 2020 Lunar Calendar

An art piece and lunar calendar all in one. This calendar features moon phases for every day of the month for the entirety of 2020.

Hologrpahic foil set on a dark 11" x 11" poster makes the moon's phases shimmer as light strikes them in this unique art piece.

Buy yours here!
Continue Reading

Alternative News

Is A Carbon Tax What We Really Want?

Published

on

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Carbon Tax (and its sinister partner the Cap-and-Trade market) is the only "solution" that our leaders are proposing for Climate Change.

  • Reflect On:

    Is it not time to question specific 'solutions' to global problems that seem to always benefit the elite, and consider what might be proposed if the health and prosperity of humanity was really the sole concern?

If you are a person who actively supports the implementation of a worldwide carbon tax, it is likely that you have humanity’s best interests at heart. If you have participated in climate marches in order to help speed up the implementation of the carbon tax within your country, you are walking your talk. At CE we certainly appreciate those who take the time and effort to act selflessly in the interests of humanity. Ultimately, we believe that this is an important aspect of how we will improve living conditions on the Earth and actually evolve as a collective.

But let’s get into specifics here. Not about whether or not the science is settled on the matter of carbon emissions being the main cause of global warming, or even if the planet is actually warming–I have extensively questioned the mainstream perception here, here, and here. But for this article, I will assume the science IS settled, and therefore presume your activism is rightly based on your belief that rising levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will cause catastrophic warming of the planet in the coming years. Let’s get specific about one particular ‘solution’ to the problem, which is the carbon tax.

In supporting a carbon tax, your recommendation is that the citizens of each country should be willing to contribute some more of their own wealth to their government in order to enact their regional or national carbon tax scheme (I’m assuming you realize that all ‘taxes,’ regardless of who they are directly levied upon, eventually trickle down and affect everyday citizens). Another way of saying this is that you are advocating for citizens of the world to be willing to experience an overall decline in their current standard of living in order to implement the global carbon reduction targets of the Paris Accords. This is simple economic math.

How Does The Carbon Tax Work?

First, let’s define what a carbon tax is:

Carbon tax is a form of pollution tax. It levies a fee on the production, distribution or use of fossil fuels based on how much carbon their combustion emits. The government sets a price per ton on carbon, then translates it into a tax on electricity, natural gas or oil. Because the tax makes using dirty fuels more­ expensive, it encourages utilities, businesses and individuals to reduce consumption and increase energy efficiency. Carbon tax also makes alternative energy more cost-competitive with cheaper, polluting fuels like coal, natural gas and oil.

Carbon tax is based on the economic principle of negative externalities. Externalities are costs or benefits generated by the production of goods and services. Negative externalities are costs that are not paid for. When utilities, businesses or homeowners consume fossil fuels, they create pollution that has a societal cost; everyone suffers from the effects of pollution. Proponents of a carbon tax believe that the price of fossil fuels should account for these societal costs. More simply put — if you’re polluting to everyone else’s detriment, you should have to pay for it. (source)

advertisement - learn more

And so, if you support a carbon tax, then you agree that ‘the price of fossil fuels should account for these societal costs.’ And the societal costs are, presumably, a monetary equivalent to the deleterious effects of global warming on humanity. But does the carbon tax actually fulfill your main objective, to save the planet and create a better future for our children? The next series of questions is designed to address this.

Pertinent Questions

1. Are carbon emissions really “pollution”? I believe the above statement is misleading when it characterizes carbon tax as a form of ‘pollution tax,’ wherein CO2 emissions are naturally equated as ‘pollution.’ I feel ‘pollution’ refers to something that has a direct negative effect on life on the planet, that slowly poisons humans, animals and plants that breathe in these substances. Indeed, in the case of plants, CO2 is their oxygen, and CO2 has no harmful effects on living beings. If there is genuine concern for living beings, why has there been no concerted effort to stem the real air pollution factories put out, that cause a haze in some major cities that actually makes it hard to breathe?

2. Does a carbon tax guarantee a reduction of carbon emissions? Quite simply, no. At best, a carbon tax “encourages utilities, businesses and individuals to reduce consumption and increase energy efficiency.” I think it would be more accurate to say that the carbon tax is financial punishment for people and businesses who want to maintain their current standard of living. In most cases, those who can afford the cost of maintaining their standard of living will simply pay the extra money to do so, and, as we have seen so far, CO2 emissions will continue to rise.

The notion that “carbon tax also makes alternative energy more cost-competitive with cheaper, polluting fuels” is another red herring. Corporations and businesses are driven by profit, nothing else. There is no chance that the majority of businesses will adopt the currently available alternative energy sources unless they are proven to be more cost-effective. Does this mean that taxation will increase until companies are essentially forced to adopt alternatives? Likely, if those in charge really press for meaningful reduction of CO2 emissions. Please note, though, that this can bring many companies to the breaking point, where they will have to reduce wages and compromise on working conditions in order to stay in business and continue to make a profit. Does this sound like a solution for the benefit of humankind?

3. Is the carbon tax the only solution available? Certainly not. There are undoubtedly many alternative solutions, including the large-scale cultivation of hemp, a proven carbon-sequestering crop which I speak about here. We just never hear about these. They are never promoted by Big Money. If we pay close attention, we will see that any natural, truly communal solutions to global warming, actions that have a direct impact on human well-being, are not even considered by the authority, let alone studied. Only the carbon tax and it’s even more sinister partner, the cap and trade system, are promoted by the authority. And that’s because there is money to be made for the elite with these solutions.

4. Where does the tax money go? This is the crux of the matter. There is no promise that the tax money collected by governments will somehow find its way to directly benefit the people. And even if there is a promise, it is unlikely that the promise will be kept. Few would disagree that government taxation has been uncovered as a black hole that ultimately enriches the global elite and the corporatocracy and only scraps filter down to the general population. Powerful interests provide money to politicians, and in turn, the politicians give tax money back to those same powerful interests in the form of government contracts. When we support a carbon tax, we support the maintenance and enrichment of a corrupt system.

5. Does a carbon tax represent humanity coming together to create a better future for itself and the planet? The carbon tax is founded in the old-world notion that only fear tactics and the manipulation of individual self-interest can bring about positive change. We will never be able to ‘come together’ as a global community if what we are really supporting is a mechanism that works off of fear and self-interest. It is important to distinguish a true grass-roots movement that comes together spontaneously through individuals who want to create change for the betterment of the human community. Currently, these are movements that not only DON’T get support from Big Money (because there would be no return-on-investment), but are often actively THWARTED by Big Money. It is clear which movements these are, because participants are subtly condemned by the mainstream press. The Yellow Vest movement is an example. The Brexit movement. The ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, at least before it got co-opted. Meanwhile, nothing but praise is heaped on climate activists, gun-control activists, or people raising money to help Western medicine find a cure for cancer. This is because these movements ultimately support the financial elite’s infrastructure and agenda.

The Takeaway

I have spoken to several people I respect who take the attitude that the carbon tax is not ideal, but at least it’s something. That they know the carbon tax leads somewhat to the enrichment of powerful people, but there’s no way around it, as that’s the only way anything gets done in the world. I question that notion. I question people’s acceptance of a very limited, even cynical, view of what humanity is capable of. We are at a time in history where we are ripe for making a shift in what we do and how we see ourselves, where we start to believe that the majority of humanity can be motivated to act purely out of love for one another. This shift will be fueled by the desire to reach for our individual sovereignty and no longer have global elite ‘leaders’ that control our destiny. When we collectively put more of our time and energy into this new paradigm and less into the old control mechanism that has hung over us all our lives, true solutions to the world’s problems will be readily at hand.

Holographic 2020 Lunar Calendar

An art piece and lunar calendar all in one. This calendar features moon phases for every day of the month for the entirety of 2020.

Hologrpahic foil set on a dark 11" x 11" poster makes the moon's phases shimmer as light strikes them in this unique art piece.

Buy yours here!
Continue Reading

Alternative News

The US Military Pollutes More Than 140 Countries

Published

on

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The US Military generates more waste than almost 140 countries.

  • Reflect On:

    Given that our governments appear to have a regard for environmental welfare and "climate change" shouldn't we work towards less military to protect our planet?

As more awareness is raised and the concern for our planet and protection of our environment grows it’s clear that many people do care about minimizing their ecological footprint with the intention of making an effort to protect our planet. On the surface, it appears that our governments really want to make a difference as well, with all the emphasis put towards climate change and the media’s obsession with activist Greta Thunberg as well as the impending carbon tax that people will undoubtedly line up to pay.

But what really gets under my skin is the idea that people believe the government and corporations as a whole genuinely care about our environment. If they did, wouldn’t there be many more regulations already in place that ban the sale of millions of disposable plastic water bottles? We wouldn’t be shipping our recycling to foreign countries to be disposed of, and thus out of sight out of mind to the consumer and we certainly wouldn’t be pumping the military full of oil, waste and very environmentally unfriendly practices.

If We Want To Drastically Reduce Pollution We Must Drastically Change This War Machine

You may be shocked to learn that the U.S. military is one of the largest polluters in history and creates more waste and pollution than the majority most countries around the world. This comes despite the fact that we are led to believe that protecting our environment is a top priority for our government officials and those who we look towards to make the best decisions on behalf of the public.

According to information obtained by The Conversation through the Freedom of Information Act, a study proved that If the US military were its own country, the amount of fuel that it uses alone would make it the 47th largest emitter of greenhouse gasses.

Quartz put out an excellent article including many alarming statistics in regards to how much pollution the US military creates; here is a small excerpt,

In 2017, the US military bought about 269,230 barrels of oil a day and emitted more than 25,000 kilotons of carbon dioxide by burning those fuels. The US Air Force purchased $4.9 billion worth of fuel, and the Navy $2.8 billion, followed by the Army at $947 million and the Marines at $36 million.

advertisement - learn more

The US military has been overlooked in numerous climate change studies because it is very difficult to access data from the Pentagon and various US government departments. The United States was granted an exemption for having to report any military emissions in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol which was then closed by the Paris Accord.

Not More Green, Less Military

There have been attempts to, for lack of a better term, “Go Green” by the U.S. military, such as increasing renewable electricity generation on bases, however, this doesn’t even put a dent on the amount of pollution that is created. Sure, it’s better than nothing, but the solution here is not going green, we don’t need more green, we need less military.

Deeper Than Climate Change

Okay, and now for a controversial opinion, the climate on the Earth is changing, in some places, it is much warmer than it has been in previous years and in other places it is colder. Yes, glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, but ice is also forming. Is this the result of human activity and the pollution of our planet or is this a natural cycle that the Earth goes through over and over again?

Please know that this is in no way taking the responsibility off our hands when it comes to polluting our planet. Regardless of whether or not climate change is in fact caused directly by human activity or not — is irrelevant to the fact that we should all be more mindful about what we are consuming and the waste we are personally creating on a daily basis. One of the most common arguments against the people who question whether or not climate change is caused by humans is the assumption that by merely questioning this we are attempting to justify the destruction of the environment.

Final Thoughts

Deep down, most of us do care about our planet and preserving it despite the fact that making the necessary changes in our lives is not a top priority for many who are way too busy just trying to survive and support their families. We are not as connected as our ancestors were with our Mother Earth, but most of us do have an innate desire to protect her.

When you consider the harm that the US Military alone is causing towards not only our environment but to our planet as a whole, including all of its inhabitants it may bring back the very important question, war — what is it good for?

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, or perhaps we can awaken neutrality and see it as a wake up call to move towards shifting our consciousness away from the way war currently living and being.

Holographic 2020 Lunar Calendar

An art piece and lunar calendar all in one. This calendar features moon phases for every day of the month for the entirety of 2020.

Hologrpahic foil set on a dark 11" x 11" poster makes the moon's phases shimmer as light strikes them in this unique art piece.

Buy yours here!
Continue Reading
advertisement - learn more
advertisement - learn more

Video

Pod

Censorship is hiding us from you.

Elevate your inbox and get conscious articles sent directly to your inbox!

Choose your topics of interest below:

You have Successfully Subscribed!