german engineering

OK. This has nothing to do with Energy or the Environment. I mean it does if you believe that air travel, both military and commercial, is responsible for a HUGE chunk of the atmospheric pollution that is destabilizing the planet’s climate. Even then how much will it add? Not much probably. Still this is just so cool. As reported here:

Dream Job Posting: Spaceship Pilots Wanted

by Nancy Atkinson on April 11, 2011

Some might do a double take at this job posting, but it is legit. Virgin Galactic announced today they are looking for pilot-astronauts and are now accepting applications…from qualified candidates. High scores on Aces of the Galaxy or Space Flight Simulator probably doesn’t meet the criteria, so just what does constitute Virgin Galactic’s idea of qualified?

Virgin’s press release says qualified candidates are full course graduates of a recognized test pilot school who are broadly experienced with both high-performance fast-jet type airplanes and large multi-engine types. Prior spaceflight experience is desirable. You’ll also have to be able to create a safe and enjoyable commercial suborbital space flight experience for your passengers.

Those selected will have the responsibilities of knowing the WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo spaceflight system test program in and out (and in accordance with government regulations and company policies in Mojave, California where test flights take place and Virgin Galactic’s commercial operations at Spaceport America in New Mexico.)


Sourced from the Virgin itself.



Excellent career opportunities are available with The Spaceship Company (TSC) – the assembler of Virgin Galactic’s fleet of SpaceShipTwos and WhiteKnightTwos.
Click the following link to find out more on The Spaceship Company website


VIRGIN GALACTIC CURRENTLY HAS TWO JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Position: PILOT – ASTRONAUTS Please click here to apply online and for further details

Position: HEAD OF OPERATIONSPlease click here to apply online and for further details

For any questions, please email

Site built by Outside Line


But is this the near end of a dead end road? Have we so polluted the planet that this is our last gasp? We shall see. More tomorrow.


I first read this here:

But it is just a lift from Cargill’s website.

Cargill propels shipping forward with largest kite-powered vessel

Date: 28 February 2011


Francis De Rosa, +44 1932 861174,
Corinne Holtshausen, +44 1932 861174,


Anne Staack, +49 40 702 99 444,

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — 28 February 2011 — Cargill has signed an agreement with SkySails GmbH & Co. KG (SkySails) to use wind power technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry. SkySails, based in Hamburg, has developed innovative, patented technology that uses a kite which flies ahead of the vessel and generates enough propulsion to reduce consumption of bunker fuel by up to 35 percent in ideal sailing conditions.

Next December Cargill will install the 320m2 kite on a handysize vessel of between 25,000 and 30,000 deadweight tonnes, which the company has on long-term charter, making it the largest vessel propelled by a kite in the world. Cargill and SkySails aim to have the system fully operational in the first quarter of 2012. Cargill is currently helping SkySails develop and test the technology and has identified a ship-owner – supportive of environmental stewardship in the industry – with whom it will partner on the project.

The SkySails kite will be connected to the ship by rope and is computer-controlled by an automatic pod to maximise the wind benefits. The kite functions at a height of between 100 to 420 metres and flies in a figure of eight formation. The SkySails system is automated and requires only minimal action by the crew. An automatic control system steers the kite and adjusts its flight path. All information related to the system’s operation is displayed on the monitor of the SkySails’ workstation on the ship’s bridge.

“For some time, we have been searching for a project that can help drive environmental best practice within the shipping industry and see this as a meaningful first step”, said G.J. van den Akker, head of Cargill’s ocean transportation business. “The shipping industry currently supports 90 percent of the world’s international physical trade. In a world of finite resources, environmental stewardship makes good business sense. As one of the world’s largest charterers of dry bulk freight, we take this commitment extremely seriously. In addition to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, the SkySails technology aims to significantly reduce fuel consumption and costs. We are very impressed with the technology and see its installation on one of our chartered ships as the first part of an ongoing, long-term partnership.”

“We are delighted that Cargill is the first company to embrace our technology on a vessel this large as part of its commitment to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry”, said Stephan Wrage, managing director of SkySails. “We are excited that our technology will shortly be used on a handysize vessel for the first time and see great potential to incorporate it on larger ships in the future.”

According to a United Nations (International Maritime Organisation) study, up to 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) could be saved every year by the broad application of the SkySails’ technology on the world merchant fleet.1 This figure would equate to 11 percent of the CO2 emissions of Germany.

Cargill is a significant global transporter of agricultural, energy and industrial commodities. Although the company does not today own or operate ships, its ocean transportation business ships more than 185 million tonnes of commodities each year, in the process connecting supply from areas of surplus with demand in areas of deficit.

Photos are available for download at


More tomorrow.


Why would wind energy generation on or in Lake Michigan be controversial? Well first there is the “Chicago Attack”. This will just benefit large cities. Then there is the “pristine view” attack. It will block my beautiful view of this beautiful lake on a beautiful day. Finally there is the, “sure it will create jobs….but not ones I will be qualified for”.

Scandia Proposes 1,000-mw Lake Michigan Wind Farm

28 Comments Posted by John Davis – December 23rd, 2009

A Minnesota company is proposing to build a massive wind farm in Lake Michigan, but some of the residents of Michigan, which has some of the highest unemployment rates in the country, still aren’t pleased about the project that would bring green energy and jobs to the economically distressed region.

The Detroit Free Press says that Scandia Wind, a Minnesota firm partnering with a Norwegian wind developer, wants to put up a 1,000-megawatt wind farm just offshore from the communities of Pentwater and Ludington:

Several companies have been sniffing out offshore wind farm possibilities in Michigan, but Scandia was the first to jump in and publicly announce its plans. The turbines would be visible all along the shore, which takes in Silver Lake and Mears state beaches, Little Sable Lighthouse and Pentwater Harbor.

The firm wants to build foundations on the lake bottom, which is owned by the citizens of Michigan, and place 100 to 200 turbines — 5 to 10 megawatts each — on top.

The total size would make the wind farm bigger than any proposed new coal plant in Michigan and nearly as large as the Fermi 2 nuclear plant.

Local residents say the wind turbines would ruin the view off their beaches and hurt tourism. Scandia officials point out that the $3 billion project would put people to work to the tune of at least 2 million man-hours.



I attended the meeting in Ludington. Dirdal (Scandia Rep) said after the project was completed, only about 100-150 jobs would remain, and that national bidding for these positions wouldn’t guarantee they would be local. The skills for these jobs are not your garden variety skill sets.

I believe this project will only help those who need the energy and are willing to pay for it (Detroit and Chicago). Locally, aesthetically, and economically the Oceana and Mason residents will pay for it in lost property values and tax bases.

Julie Burdick

Wind turbines in Lake Michigan would lower property values and lower the tax base because the reason property values are high in this area is because of the access to the natural resources. This includes sailing, boating and fishing on the great lake and admiring the views from the beaches. This may work in Denmark etc. but it is not the reason people live and visit Pentwater and surrounding areas. Why should Pentwater bear the brunt of creating “green energy” for the surrounding metropolitan areas??


OH then there is the coal, oil and gas push back – they are unreliable and costly.


I thought this was interesting…..”Despite their being cited as the shining example of what can be accomplished with wind power, the Danish government has cancelled plans for three offshore wind farms planned for 2008 and has scheduled the withdrawal of subsidies from existing sites. Development of onshore wind plants in Denmark has effectively stopped. Because Danish companies dominate the wind industry, however, the government is under pressure to continue their support. Spain began withdrawing subsidies in 2002. Germany reduced the tax breaks to wind power, and domestic construction drastically slowed in 2004. Switzerland also is cutting subsidies as too expensive for the lack of significant benefit. The Netherlands decommissioned 90 turbines in 2004. Many Japanese utilities severely limit the amount of wind-generated power they buy, because of the instability they cause. For the same reason, Ireland in December 2003 halted all new wind-power connections to the national grid. In early 2005, they were considering ending state support. In 2005, Spanish utilities began refusing new wind power connections. In 2006, the Spanish government ended — by emergency decree — its subsidies and price supports for big wind. In 2004, Australia reduced the level of renewable energy that utilities are required to buy, dramatically slowing wind-project applications. On August 31, 2004, Bloomberg News reported that “the unstable flow of wind power in their networks” has forced German utilities to buy more expensive energy, requiring them to raise prices for the consumer.”


Bunch of crap if you ask me. More tomorrow.


All of those things could have taken SEVERAL Years to complete.You have to ask yourself, “How badly must my house have been designed for me to have to do all this work”? The answer is VERY badly. The big housing push in post WWII America led to many bad practices. But let’s face it our population went from 60 million to over 325 million in 3 decades and energy was a nickle or less a kilowatt. That is just an excuse I know but it is all I got. Hostility to our environment is a genetic trait for Americans. Having a Capitalistic Economy does not help because it has a total disregard for the environment. It is in fact dismissed as an externality.  Is Capitalism psychotic? Look at how it treats the only home we have got. It defiles it.

So hear is a look at more earth friendly models.

Three Extreme Eco-friendly Houses of the Future

Published by Nelson Doyle
November 9, 2008, Category: Ecology

The most extreme eco-friendly houses of the future reduces the environmental impact on the planet and demonstrates how less means more quality living.

With so much attention being drawn towards the perils of our planet and the environmental impact that a global population is causing on natural resources, some forward-thinking companies and individuals are developing new ways to solve our housing needs and the future impact to the environment once built. It requires creative people like these to develop solutions to solve critical issues like the ones we have to deal with in today’s environment.

The majority of eco-friendly houses share similar engineering characteristics such as; smaller living spaces and recycled building materials incorporated into the design. Some houses incorporate solar panels, wood-burning stoves or other energy-saving heating and cooling appliances. The potential costs saving on utility bills, property taxes, home maintenance, and furniture would more than make this kind of living ideal for single or duel family housing.

Ewok-Style Tree House


I could post the photos but out of respect I will say please see the article for more.


This Ewok-style tree house designed by Canadian carpenter Tom Chudleigh saw the future and built it.

Portable Martin House-To-Go

Honestly, this has to be the most practical house on the planet that is eco-friendly to the extremes. Live anywhere and change your scenery when the mood strikes in your own portable house. The Martin portable house-to-go is built to the highest building standards and is weatherproofed with NASA-approved insulation to endure in extreme weather conditions.

Dome House

The Japanese are amazing engineers in both housing and technology, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that a prefab home manufacturer Japan called “Japan Dome Housing Co., Ltd., developed an amazingly energy-efficient, extreme weather durable, Styrofoam expandable modular igloo-shaped kit house. Oh, yes, it’s true. The house of the future that can be purchased and assembled by you and two or three of your friends in just a matter of 3-days if you work around the clock or about a week if you take your time.


More tomorrow.


I have said it before and I will say it again Energy Efficiency sucks because it implies that we can keep doing what we have been doing if we just use less energy. WRONG. The growth model of capitalism and the growth model of religious dominance were always doomed to failure because they were at the heart delusional. The Earth is finite and we ain’t moving to another planet anytime soon if ever. Oh wait, first I must say:


Community Energy Systems is a nonprofit 501c3 organization chartered in Illinois in Sangamon County. As such we are dependent on public donations for our continued existence. We also use Adsense as a fundraiser. Please click on the ads that you see on this page, on our main page and on our Bulletin Board (Refrigerator Magnets) and you will be raising money for CES. We say a heartfelt THANK YOU to all who do.


The point has also been made that what we save in the residential market will only get “used” in the industrial market anyway. What we need is a whole new society design…That will take nearly cataclysmic events to produce.

Jeff Rubin's Smaller World

A blog about how weaning our economy off oil means some fundamental changes in the way we live, and other things

Wednesday, January 6, 2010 6:12 AM

Why energy efficiency means higher consumption

Jeff Rubin

Buddy, my furnace repairman, tells me it’s time to buy a new furnace. And I’d better act quickly if I still want to order the old mid-efficiency model. In the New Year, I have to buy a high-efficiency one, which, of course, costs twice as much.

Welcome to the brave new world of energy scarcity—it’s not only smaller, but also more costly. As energy prices continue to climb, you can expect to pay more, not less, for all the new energy-efficient cars and devices for your home.

But don’t count on actually saving any energy.

Efficiency may be the holy grail of the economist, but it’s a total head fake for the conservationist. And while one is being used to promote the other, the two concepts are as different as day and night.

The fact that the high-efficiency furnace generates more heat for a given amount of fuel burnt doesn’t necessarily mean I will end up with any fuel savings. As the cost of my heating falls, might it just allow me to set my thermostat higher? If so, my energy savings go right up the chimney.

That’s just where all the energy savings in the auto industry have gone over the last four decades — up the tailpipe, actually. Despite all the efficiency gains mandated by rising CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards, your average North American car consumes just as much fuel today as it did back in the early 1970s. Sure, the engine is 30 per cent more efficient, but now it’s hauling around an SUV that’s driven about a third more per year than a vehicle was back then.

And it’s no different in your home. Don’t be fooled by the fact that even today’s kettle has to meet some government-mandated energy-efficiency standard. Your house consumes a lot more energy than your parents’ did.



Community Energy Systems is a nonprofit 501c3 organization chartered in Illinois in Sangamon County. As such we are dependent on public donations for our continued existence. We also use Adsense as a fundraiser. Please click on the ads that you see on this page, on our main page and on our Bulletin Board (Refrigerator Magnets) and you will be raising money for CES. We say a heartfelt THANK YOU to all who do.


Will High Speed Rail become a fast way for the general public to get around at a reduced energy cost? Or will it become a fast way for the Wealthy to commute from city to city? Will Union Pacific and the other big railroads carve up small towns in the rural areas while doubling and tripling freight traffic? Only time will tell. BUT here is Union Pacific’s take on it from the The State Journal Register.


Joseph Bateman: Rail upgrade needed for passenger service, not freight


Posted Nov 04, 2009 @ 12:04 AM

Last update Nov 04, 2009 @ 06:58 AM

Contrary to the headline and opinions expressed in the Oct. 25 article “High-speed rail spending to be a boon to freight rail companies,” Union Pacific does not need for its freight operations the improvements contained in IDOT’s proposal for high-speed passenger service in the St. Louis-to-Chicago corridor. The public expenditure required for track capacity and other improvements needed on the UP line for high-speed passenger service is necessitated by the increased frequency in passenger service (10 to 18 daily trains) and the increase in maximum passenger train velocity (79 to 110 mph), not by the increased UP freight operationsPlans to build our new Joliet intermodal terminal, which could result in additional UP traffic in the corridor, were announced long before high-speed passenger rail or stimulus funding grabbed the national spotlight. Union Pacific currently has adequate capacity on our existing rail corridor infrastructure to support growth in freight train volumes. If the time comes when we might require additional capacity, we will build and finance it ourselves, just as we have done throughout our 23-state, 32,000-mile network for nearly 150 years.Nonetheless, we think it is important for Springfield residents to be aware of misconceptions and facts regarding this project that have not been widely reported:* Union Pacific did not ask for higher-speed passenger trains on our line. We are responding to requests from the state of Illinois and others to host this service on our line.* One high-speed passenger train consumes the equivalent track capacity of two to three freight trains. Even without freight train growth, a computer simulation of the corridor demonstrated that double track infrastructure is needed to meet required levels of service and reliability for IDOT’s four-hour express passenger schedule.

* UP always has been willing to review any mitigation alternatives the city of Springfield may propose for the Third Street corridor, including grade separations. To date, we have received no suggestions for mitigation from either the city or county.

* Congested urban areas such as between Sangamon and Iles avenues in Springfield require speed restrictions, most likely in the 40 to 50 mph range, not the 110 mph maximum speed envisioned elsewhere in this corridor. Passenger trains will operate even slower in the downtown area because of the station stop.

* The maximum number of trains running through the Third Street corridor would be 40 combined passenger and freight per day, assuming maximum growth of UP’s business over the next 10 years. In contrast, there would be 60-plus trains per day using the 10th Street corridor to accommodate Union Pacific, passenger and Norfolk Southern trains.

* At-grade road-rail crossings in Springfield would be blocked by 40 trains for a total of approximately 65 minutes per crossing per day, not five hours per day. Unnecessary speed restrictions or inadequate rail capacity provisions, however, would create bottlenecks that will add to blocked crossing time.

* Constructing a bypass for UP on the 10th Street corridor would require displacing many residences and businesses to accommodate the required double track and grade separations. In addition, a new connection track at North Grand Avenue would be required through or near an area now occupied by housing, the ballpark, Memorial Stadium and tennis courts.

High-speed passenger rail ultimately boils down to a public policy decision. If private freight rail infrastructure is to be used for passenger service, then federal grant policy requires that sufficient infrastructure capacity must be provided to efficiently and reliably handle both existing and future freight and passenger service on demand. That infrastructure must be paid for by the party precipitating that need, in this case, the sponsor of expanded passenger train operations.

Joseph Bateman is vice president for public affairs of Union Pacific.


I plan on writing a response, so if the SJ-R doesn’t publish it then I will put it up as a post.


Obama and Merkel switched to renewable and conservation. Whom or who is right?

How The World Works

Peak oil? Don’t worry — Obama’s on the job

Energy efficiency gains could slake the world’s oil thirst. Thanks, in no small part, to the current administration

What if, as a result of efforts to fight climate change and boost energy efficiency, global oil demand peaked in the foreseeable future? You could argue that such an achievement would be one of the most historic accomplishments of human civilization to date, proof, indeed, that we are civilized. It’s a task that will require lots of hard work all over the globe, but based just on the actions taken by President Obama in his first year of office, in the United States, we have made real progress toward that goal.

The International Energy Agency, reports Spencer Swartz in the Wall Street Journal, is predicting that even if China and India continue to consume ever more oil, overall, the world’s appetite for crude is slowing down.

The IEA, which advises rich nations, such as the U.S., on energy matters, is set to use its closely watched annual World Energy Outlook report to forecast that improved energy-efficiency measures in developed nations, as well as climate-change legislation, will help to slow the rate of global oil consumption.

Swartz reports that Deutsche Bank is bold enough to predict that “global demand will peak by 2016 … due to efficiency gains and technology improvements in electric vehicles.”

This kind of thing doesn’t happen by accident. Yesterday Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced $38 million worth of grants to Alaska, Kansas, Utah and West Virginia to “support energy efficiency and conservation activities.”


It is Jam Band Friday –

Everyone in this country has been programmed by rampant science fiction to believe that everything for the future comes from outer space. So the Japanese launch a press release about using a satellite to beam microwaves back to Earth.

Let’s see, first you have to clean up the 13,000 pieces of space debris…then you got to up our payload capacity and multiple the number of vehicles available by at least 1,000. Just to START such a project. Hell we can barely generate enough capacity to keep the International Space Station running  which is 160 volts in DC. Which gets us back to this final meditation on “living off the land”. There are somethings we will have to give up on and the first one is Space Flight. Why? Not because of the money and effort that could spent elsewhere. Not because of the hellishness of the logistics. NASA’s dirty little secret is Cosmic Rays. They would destroy any unshielded human and that is why the International Space Station is not in geosynchronous orbit or higher. Stewardesses and Pilots who regularly fly at high altitudes are exposed to enough Cosmic Rays to have a slightly higher chance of developing some cancers. That is why NASA limits the space station stay for astronauts to under a year. But what is the point of going out there?


If we replaced that with

Quality of Life

As a principle the world would be a much nicer and longer lived place.


For those of you who want what you need and a simpler life there are many resources out there

Tips for Off-Grid Living – How To Live Off The Grid

Off Grid Solar Power ArrayWelcome to our free online resource for off-grid living.
We are here to help you along in the rewarding challenge of living off of the power grid. Whether you are a veteran off-grider living in an RV or cabin in the woods, a seasoned rural farmer, a third-generation rancher – or someone just looking to get out of the rat race – we have the information you seek.

What to look for when buying real estate off the grid >>

Though sometimes a challenge, the many benefits of living off grid make it all worthwhile. How can one describe the feeling of running your house or business off of clean energy sources like natural gas and propane, or renewable energy sources like solar, wind and hydro? Who could explain the effect being out of the city and suburbs has on your sense of well-being? How many of us would enjoy more fresh produce grown organically on our own property?

This website isn’t just about owning property that happens to not be connected to the big power company’s grid. It is about living closer to the land; Being responsible for the culture, values and environment we leave behind to our children; knowing that life was meant to be enjoyed, rather than working in a tiny cubicle to earn enough to accumulate stuff we didn’t need in the first place.

Well, that’s what it’s about for me at least. But more importantly:
What is living off grid about to you?


You can even be a Dad and do it:

Living Off The Grid

Ever wish you could just unplug from your current hectic life?  Maybe quit your stressful job, move to a farm with several acres, and spend your remaining time living off the grid.  Yeah, me too.

The problem is that this type of lifestyle seems so simple, but is terribly difficult to pull off these days.  Why?  Because we have become slaves to our stuff – myself included.  We have our houses, our cars, our expensive hobbies, our electronic gadgets, our new furniture, our designer clothes, etc.

We spend the majority of our lives working to pay for the stuff that keeps us from living a life with more freedom.  Along the way we usually manage to accumulate debt buying more stuff than we can afford.  So then we spend even more time working to repay the money we borrowed to buy the stuff that we work to pay for in the first place.  Whew!  It’s a vicious cycle.

Photo courtesy of iLoveButter

How To Break The Chains of Stuff?

So how do we break the cycle?  How do we join others who are living off the grid?  It isn’t easy.  I believe the very first step is to stop accumulating stuff.  Draw a line in the sand (or on your front porch), and vow not to allow anything else to enter your home unless it is a necessity or improves your quality of life in some way.  If something qualifies under those two conditions, you must save for it and pay cash.  No more borrowing!

The second step is to take a look around your house, and your budget.  Are you paying for things that you could really live without?  The $40 gym membership, or the $15 Netflix membership, may not seem like much by themselves, but how much of a nest egg would be required just to cover those expenses?  I mentioned the multiply by 25 concept in a previous post.  The idea is that you can estimate how much of your nest egg would be required to maintain your current expenses.  I used Netflix as an example:


The movement is not just limited to the US.

Top govt advisor attacks Big Power


— by Alexbenady, 30 Oct

Simpson: Local hero

Simpson: Local hero

The UK is in the grips of a power cartel, says an insider from the governing UK Labour Party.

That cartel actively hinders the fight against global warming by lobbying for its own narrow commercial interests at the cost of local democracy and the future health of the planet.   It’s an argument that off-gridders and anti-capitalist campaigners will be familiar with. It’s not really what you expect to hear from an advisor to Her Majesty’s Government. Yet it is precisely the belief of Alan Simpson, who occupies a place close to the heart of political power in Britain as  energy advisor to the Secretary of Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband and Member of Parliament for Nottingham South.

>>Keep reading Top govt advisor attacks Big Power Your Comments: 0
Submit this story to: Twitter Digg StumbleUpon:}

Some people even thrive in an “off the grid” living:

By Greg Seaman Posted Jun 9, 2009

In the summer of 1980, my wife, three-month old son and I moved “off-grid”. We loved living in San Francisco but wanted to live a simpler, more independent lifestyle, and so we bought a small cabin with land on a rural island in the Pacific Northwest. Since there were no services to the island, our home had no electricity. Residents of the island had to create their own electricity or do without.

Now here I sit, almost 30 years later, with the kids grown and their rooms empty, and with some time to reflect on our experience living and raising a family off-grid. But before even considering the challenges and solutions in dealing with our energy needs over the years, one observation seems to leap out: how little things here have changed. We’ve done very little over the years to enhance our energy needs, aside from installing two solar panels last year to power the computer I’m using to write this article. (Alongside my computer on the table here is a kerosene lamp, and a candle for added light.) This lack of change is testament to the feasibility of off-grid living, and my vision for the upcoming years is to keep things pretty much the way they are.

But keeping it simple hasn’t always been simple. We had to learn alternate methods of preserving food, how to build things without power tools, how to cook on a wood stove, how to clean diapers without a washing machine, entertain ourselves without TV, and accept that many common tasks can take longer and be more difficult without electricity. Here are the main challenges we encountered in living off-grid, and how we managed with them.


For much more:


Oh yah and the people that made the song famous:


While there was huge howling on both the right and the left about Barack Obama winning the Nobel Prize, I think it was mainly because they don’t understand that we are shifting from a “growth” paradigm to a “sustainable” paradigm and the Nobel people were publicly recognizing that fact. I think if they all knew what that meant, they would be howling even louder. What Barack and company have understood is that standard politics is about to become irrelevant. That is that the Growth method of economics is about to become obsolete and with it a whole way of life.

The sustainable economics of Elinor Ostrom

2009-10-14 17:56

It was not by chance that Elinor Ostrom was awarded this year’s Nobel prize in economics.

Global warming, along with the preservation of the quality of our environment, has become the most pressing issue facing the human race.

The presentation of this year’s Nobel prize in economics to Elinor Ostrom and Oliver E. Williamson–in particular Ostrom’s dedicated researches in the inter-relationship between mankind and our ecological system, thus ensuring the sustainability of our water, forest, fishery and other shared resources–should serve as a loud and clear alarm to mankind, who have now come face to face with ecological disasters of unprecedented proportions.

Environmental initiatives continue to thrive in all corners of the Earth. Although many people are well equipped with the knowledge of protecting our environment, few will actually turn that knowledge into practical actions, resulting in the piling up of trash, severe river contamination, illegal logging as well as ill-planned and uncurbed developments. The quality of our environment has deteriorated further, culminating in a broad array of hygiene issues and illnesses.

Elinor Ostrom spent her teenage years in the depth of the Great Depression and the subsequent second world war, when resources were scarce and potable water a rarity. She grew vegetables in her own yard, and made her harvest into canned food. This opened up her eyes to the realisation of the necessity to work with other people for the common interests of all when resources were in short supply. Such a realisation had laid a solid foundation for her future scientific research works.

Judging from this perspective, it therefore came as no coincidence that she was given the Nobel.

It is an undeniable fact that environmental degradation has resulted in global warming. Even in Malaysia, the average atmospheric temperatures have risen over the past three decades.


Summarizing her findings about the “tragedy of the commons”:

1. We must value the strategy of a more balanced overall development: In the past, due to the lack of overall development concept and plans, our developments have been concentrated in large cities while the well-being of rural residents was overlooked.

For instance, we moved polluting factories from cities to outlying areas and adjacent rural communities. We should have instead formulated a set of preventive guidelines to curb environmental degradation. The success of environment protection depends very much on the monetary expenses as well as manpower, financial and equipment inputs; and priorities and timetables should therefore be set.

2. An environment evaluation system must be put in place. Works on all new major construction projects, manufacturing plants and public gathering places, should begin only after environmental impact assessments have been carried out.

3. Promote a sense of responsibility in nurturing the necessary expertise. Future entrepreneurs must come to the full realisation that the prevention of environmental degradation is a responsibility which they are obliged to, and the money invested in the equipment for the prevention of environmental degradation should be seen as part of the essential operating cost in their production and service delivery. At the same time, they should also establish research bodies aimed at grooming expertise to fight pollution.

Not believing in the “tragedy of the commons,” Ostrom has put her entire lifetime’s effort in the researches on outlying and underdeveloped communities, living over a very long period of time with their impoverished residents.


The 2 types of economies are on a crash course:

The Clash Over Clean Power

Utility chiefs are juggling the conflicting goals of green energy and low rates—and self-interest reigns


What makes the task even more difficult is a fundamental clash between the two goals that Rowe, Rogers, and other CEOs say they are passionate about: keeping power prices low to benefit customers and averting the potential catastrophe of climate change. The effort to curb emissions, after all, will significantly raise the price of coal-fired and other fossil-fuel-generated electricity and make alternatives more competitive.


Some countries are already there:

The future of energy happening now in Germany

Friday, 16 October 2009 08:01

Germans are leading the way in the clean energy revolution.  From huge smart grid projects and massive wind and solar farms to smaller micro-generation projects at the home to new appliances Germany is taking energy efficiency very seriously.

Germany passed legislation more than 20 years ago that required utility companies to pay homeowners who generated renewable power.  Since 1990, carbon emissions there have been reduced by 23 percent as a result of forward-thinking policies and by embracing innovative technologies.

The country is now conducting tests that will determine if homes can produce all of their energy needs and sell excess back to the power grid.  Operating under the label E-Energy, the project will include tens of thousands of homes in six separate regions.  The €140 million project has attracted many of the world’s largest energy and technology firms who have agreed to help pay for the effort.  Germany believes that a similar nationwide program could conserve 10 terawatts of energy annually – an amount equal to the yearly consumption of 2.5 million homes.

The Germans are also working on offshore wind farms and massive solar power installations to be built in Africa.  Several energy companies are working on the solar project that will eventually feed clean energy into Europe’s power grid.  Schemes such as these can eventually provide up to a third of the country’s requirements, according to estimates.


The point being, that the Nobel Committee picked people that reflect that…the “Growthers” just don’t get it and never will:

Nobel Prize Winners For 2009

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2009

Elizabeth H. Blackburn

Carol W. Greider

Jack W. Szostak

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2009

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

Thomas A. Steitz

Ada E. Yonath

The Nobel Peace Prize 2009

Barack Obama

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2009

Charles K. Kao

Willard S. Boyle

George E. Smith

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2009

Herta Müller

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2009

Elinor Ostrom

Oliver E. Williamson


I did not say it up front but Elinor is the first woman to get the Nobel Prize for Economics -Yaaaaaa


This was an eye catching headline and hundreds of bloggers posted it. But what are they really accomplishing here. If the people have electric water heaters maybe they are accomplishing something. If the people have gas water heaters then the impact is much less. You have off loaded an inefficient gas heater for an efficient one. But if you installed a solar water heater well…then you would be doing something. This is just a publicity stunt…AND apparently it worked:,volkswagen-plan-would-rev-up-power-for-apartments.html

Volkswagen plan would rev up power for apartments

by Aurelia End Aurelia End Wed Sep 9, 11:06 am ET

Salzgitter,Germany – Automotive giant Volkswagen and a small German power company unveiled Wednesday a plan to build up to 100,000 mini power stations in apartment house basements. The generators would run off more or less the same natural-gas- powered engines as those that currently drive some

Volkswagen Golf cars. Exhaust heat from the engines would warm up water for showers and central heating.“It’s a true revolution in the electricity business,” said Christian Friege, chief executive of Lichtblick, a small “green energy” supplier to homes and offices which teamed up with
Volkswagen for the project. The plan, sealed with an agreement at Volkswagen’s Salzgitter factory in northern Germany, is a challenge to big utilities that generate power with huge steam turbines driven by nuclear or coal heat. Germany’s infrastructure could help make the plan a reality, with gas, mostly drilled in Siberia, already being piped to most city streets in Germany. Volkswagen said the “green” internal-combustion engines it has developed for cars were quiet enough to operate in building basements and emitted 60 per cent less carbon dioxide than comparable thermal power plants. Lichtblick, based in Hamburg, is a company with 550,000 customers and a focus on supplying non-nuclear electricity. Engineers said the key to the system’s success would be a home power station’s efficiency, with up to 94 per cent of the energy in the gas used for heating or to make electricity, whereas gas-fired power plants only use 40 to 60 per cent..


This was YAHOO’s take on it:

Home power plants project unveiled in Germany


Home power plants project unveiled in Germany

AFP/DDP – A technician of German automaker Volkswagen’s adjusts a mini gas-fired power plant at the VW plant …

BERLIN (AFP) – An ambitious project was unveiled in Germany on Wednesday to install mini gas-fired power plants in people’s basements and produce as much electricity as two nuclear reactors within a year.

The Hamburg-based renewable energy group Lichtblick and its automaker partner Volkswagen say the plants would produce not only heating and hot water but also electricity, with any excess power fed into the local grid.

The two firms said the concept of “SchwarmStrom” (literally, “swarm power”) would allow Germany to abandon nuclear and coal power stations sooner and help compensate for the volatility of renewables like wind and solar power.

The plants also reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions by up to 60 percent compared to conventional heat and electricity generation, they added in a joint statement.

In the coming year the programme will install 100,000 of the mini plants, producing between them 2,000 megawatts of electricity, the same as two nuclear plants, Lichtblick and VW said.

“SchwarmStrom is revolutionising power production in Germany. It clears the way for more renewable energy and an exit from power from nuclear and coal,” the statement added.


These people ran it too:


« Previous PageNext Page »