Instructables

How can we better use technology to preserve the environment?

I'm part of a "Technology Battle Royale" that will be hosted by the Ninja from "Ask A Ninja." One of the questions for this event is "How can we better use technology to preserve the environment?"

Yes, I know this sounds ridiculous, and it is. More links once the website is live.

In the meantime, what do you think? Help me answer the question.

This is the second of two questions for this week, the first is here.

Edit:
The battle site is now live here: http://www.fmbattleroyale.com
Disclosure: The FM site is being sponsored by Toshiba, who is also an advertiser on Instructables.

More rockets flying into the sun for safe disposal of nuclear waste. Let's use that fusion-powered trash can of light!
Just an FYI, it's more energy efficient to send nuclear waste to an infinite orbit (ie, a parabolic orbit where the waste has 0 velocity relative to earth) than it is to send it into the sun. Eric, I don't think the issue is to get technology to help the enviroment - that already happens in that engineers and designers have a (albeit nonaltruistic) motivation to make their products more efficient: efficiency sells. The real issue is how do we get that new technology into the hands of the people. It makes no difference if you can create a car that gets 100 mpg if no one drives it.
100 mpg i would drive it in a heartbeat!!!
Kiteman6 years ago
It's about thoughtful application of a range of technologies, with less emphasis on profits.

"People" (the mass-media-led-sheep) tend to expect "Them" (the lab-coated scientists portrayed in the media) to invent a single cure-all invention in the nick of time to cure global warming, lower sea levels and wash whiter-then-white all at the flick of a single switch.

Take my favourite big-bear, energy:

"People" know that we need to use less fossil fuels (GW debate aside, we know they're running out). However, they only ever see one cure at a time to the problem. Ask a random passer-by how to use less fossil fuels, and they will say "wind power", because it's visible, in the press, in the landscape, wind turbines are an iconic image.

But wind power doesn't work without the wind, same as PV doesn't work at night. The best answer is to use a range of energy resources, most of which use proven technologies, each to fill a niche, each to help a little bit -

  • wind
  • off-shore wave (eg Pelamis)
  • on-shore wave (eg Limpet)
  • tidal barrage
  • deep-ocean turbine
  • hydroelectric dams
  • tap landill for methane
  • ferment methane from sewage (animal and human)
  • I found out recently that some people in Africa collect poo sticks - animal dung on sticks - as fuel for home fires and stoves. Having sat around an elephant dung campfire, I know that works.
  • solar electric
  • solar thermal - water heaters, green houses, solar chimneys
  • geothermal
  • biomass (burning food-crop wastes - stems etc)
Plus increasing efficiency of existing technologies.

Why do we never hear about all of these at once, though? Business. Even though the purveyors of these alternative resources are genuinely trying to help, they also need to turn a profit, which means they need to promote their own scheme at the expense of others.

"People" need to be told about all the possibilities, and shown how to exploit them easily and cheaply, in order for technology to preserve the environment.
The problem with wind power is that it can only supply a maximum of 10% of the grid without adversely effecting its quality. That is, if there were enough practical wind zones to supply that much.
See what I mean? That could easily be read as "we shouldn't bother with wind because it's not up to the job", when it should be read as "wind can do part of the job, and these other things can do the rest".

It also depends on context - hydroelectric is probably a waste of time in Texas, but a huge part of the solution in Scandinavian countries.

In the UK, wind (esp offshore) and wave between them could provide the whole of the UK's requirements, until a spell of calm weather.

So, use wind for 10%, surround the country in Pelamis snakes, cover the desert in solar chimneys, cover the roofs in PV, put lids on all the landfills to trap the methane, ferment all the shed-bred livestock manure for more methane, incinerate waste for more energy and bury a huge geotheral plant under Yellowstone (which cool down the megavolcano a bit as well).
I didn't mean it that way. Wind power is great, but it could never find itself on the top of the list. Wind could not supply the whole of the UKs requirement for the very reason I mentioned. Wind cannot supply a constant supply even in the most ideal locations like Hawaii, where it's used more than anywhere else.
hawii wind only? geothermal wave tidal hmmm make hawii a powerplant all in one place.
I knew that, but my point was that the less-than-scientifically-literate tabloid-public could easily be led to believe you did. The answer is, and always will be, to use a broad mix of resources.
tap kansas windy as hell here all the time
What negative effects would it have?
Apart from the technical drawbacks (I learned something new there, Las Vegas), there are four main objections to wind turbines: 1. They're noisy. 2. They spoil the view. 3. They kill birds. 4. Their construction can have a negative environmental impact. Answers? 1. Early ones were, modern ones aren't. I've been up one of Europe's largest land turbines, and I could barely hear it unless I leaned my head on the structure. 2. A subjective point. I find them elegant. 3. I work near another of the large turbines, and my parents live near a farm of 20 - none of us have seen dead birds under turbines. 4. The impact is short-term, and much more more dispersed than a traditional power station.
Even the early ones weren't that noisy. But I've never lived next to a wind farm. I imagine it could get to you. Most farms in the US are far from resident zones. Most of Hawaii's wind plants are on the main island away from the populace. I love the view of a large wind farm. It's like a shiny forest. I've also never seen a bird hit by the blades. I've seen a number of birds die flying into my picture window. Perhaps we should rethink out use of glass... I suspect the environmental impact is similar to that of the Alaska oil line. It was found to actually benefit the environment!
This is as I understand it. It's how it was explained to me when I worked for Jacobs Wind Electric (AKA Earth Energy Systems) back in the '80s The grid is carefully regulated so that it produces the exact cycles every second (60 in North America). If at any time a cycle is somehow skipped, it has to be made up ASAP. If you were to somehow monitor the sine wave of the grid on the east coast and simultaneously monitor the grid on the west coast, they would be exactly the same. Because It has to be put through an Inverter that syncs it with the grid and feeds it into the grid 360 degrees out of phase (back into phase). The process of producing a simulated sine wave isn't perfect. Any more than 10% would adversely effect the quality of the grid. Other techniques of producing power, such as hydo and turbines (anything that produces heat) are run at the exact speed to produce the correct sine wave. Wind and solar-electric can't sync in the same fashion. I imagine wind power could be used to produce heat and run a turbine generator as well, but there would be a tremendous loss in the process.
well, i think that the only negative effects on the environment would be a couple of dead birds every now and then.
VIRON LasVegas6 years ago
You SAY 10%, but R. Buckminster Fuller said 300%!!! Pick a number... any number!
LasVegas VIRON6 years ago
A link would help. I don't see anything on The Buckminster Fuller Institute site to support your statement. I explained my statement below. Now if you're refering to R. Buckminster Fuller himself, the statement would be a little dated.
Peanut6 years ago
Part of preserving the environment is reporting to everyone what damage is being done to the local environment in time to prevent future damage. Technology could be used to produce small, cheap sensors that could be read out manually or integrated into a net to report infringements. Immediate questions include: 1) To whom should such reports be sent? The infringer? The local media? 2) What should be the standards that apply? Who decides? How does one change them if inappropriate? 3) Who pays? Here’s a case study (real): A new youth soccer field (a good thing?) is constructed of grass (also good) that is being fertilized with excess (not so good) phosphate and nitrogen containing fertilizers that run off into local ponds (bad). This increase in nutrients could promote growth of large numbers of previously unknown plants in the pond (bad), altering the environment so that various amphibians and fish can no longer survive (really bad). This could interfere with the food chain for local wildlife, causing raccoons, otters, and beavers to migrate, leaving behind the wasted pond. At present, documenting the excess P and N requires hand sampling and costly testing. If cheap sensors were put in place, the run-off could be monitored 24/7 and storms that flood the area and are responsible for much of the run-off could be monitored during the night and winter. So – the questions above now are directly relevant. As is another one - Should the water in the ponds be maintained at levels of P and N safe for human consumption or at lower levels to prevent excess plant growth and protect the frogs and fish? Who decides? And who assures that the levels stay at whatever level is chosen? Same types of arguments apply for groundwater or soils almost everywhere…technology can help!
Shane K. Peanut3 years ago
why not change the fertilizer or find hardier grass seed?
rc jedi6 years ago
you assume we are damaging the environment. You assume we can DO something to alter it. A volcano spews out more co2 and well, basically FUNK in one eruption than all human works in history combined. Seen the animals near Mt St helens? They're dead. then life recovers and recycles the FUNK into the ecosystem. Climate has never been steady. It always has changed all through human history. Even without SUV's. Now, I'm going outside to burn a truck tire. The wind is calm and one can see the smoke column go straight up to 5000 ft before it gets clipped off by upper level winds.
jtobako rc jedi6 years ago
Remind me to put my sewage plant upstream of your house, and my pig farm upwind. Then I can use your own words to claim that I'm not harming your environment : )
rc jedi jtobako6 years ago
actually, my dad threatened to do that to a builder one time. The guy promised to sell the land , but then decided to build on it. It seems to be an effective tactic!

and, I know a pig rancher in Cuero Texas. He sez pig waste is some of the best fertilizer there is. Tomatoes do well in it.

and, we actually used sewage sludge in our garden. all this is true, as god is my witness!

'I was a little rough with you guys about the tire thing, but it is what happens every day all over the world. especially third world. China is the 1 to watch, not USA. We are the most productive for the amount of energy and natural materials we use.
There are so many examples of horrible practices in china, like people heating old circuit boards over open fires to get the lead and gold off.
These people have no knowledge of lead dangers what-so-ever.
jtobako rc jedi6 years ago
Cholera, disentary and typhus are, what, imaginary? Lead poisoning doesn't exist? Yes, sewage in moderation and preferably aged makes good fertilizer-but the people down-wind don't appreciate it, especially fresh or worse nearly so. There are reasons that chinese food is thoroughly cooked and european cities take august off. Mt St Helens' wildlife had somewhere to recover from, and time to do so. Mankind is wide spread enough to prevent reseeding and persistent enough (chemically and personally) to be more thorough. Just because somewhere is worse doesn't excuse you from being better. That's like saying that since charles manson is still alive that you can torture small animals because someone somewhere is worse. CO2 isn't the only long term danger, as Love Canal, Minamata Bay (mercury) and Gruinard island (anthrax) easily show.
rc jedi jtobako6 years ago
solution. more cholera, more disentary and typhus and lead. That would lead to lower human populations and the new god "mother earth" could rule agian. you compare the prosperity that lets you sit in a/c luxury and argue on the internet, hate man, watch your kids grow up without, rickets, polio, whooping cough, malnutrition, scurvy, tapeworm, mumps, measles with crimes commited by Manson? A few pollution setbacks are a small price to pay. We clean most of what we do up fairly well. not perfect, but not the end of the world either. anyway, my point i want to leave is the media and science spasm going on is not able to report any real science cuz too much emotion, politics and finger pointing is gumming up the system.
rc jedi rc jedi6 years ago
this thread took an ugly turn eh?
yes it did. the question went to finger pointing QUICK! the answer i keep coming to is education and COOPERATION. china has a problem,ok how do we help them/help us. this can be said for everywhere in this world not just china.
jtobako rc jedi6 years ago
You just seem to be saying "ignore it, Nietzsche was right." That's ok if you don't have children. Tell the parents of children with leukemia, mercury poisoning or other 'small' problems that it's for the best-then duck, 'cause them's fighting words.
Yes. And acid rain is mostly caused by cow flatulence. The thing is, it's our contribution that makes it a problem. We can either kill off all the cows, or clean up our act. Which is the better solution? I don't think we'll have much luck plugging up the volcanoes. It just makes a little more sense to stop or reduce the production of the added greenhouse gases that we're contributing.
bovine flatulence, aren't buffalo kina related? didn't they cover north america once? Do they not "outgass"? You continue to assume we must do something. I contend there is not a problem. Give me the earth's worldwide "normal" temperature. You can't. Not for today, or yesterday or 5000b.c. We don't know what is the norm. The climate has constantly changed all through human history. The base of the spynx is water eroded. Used to rain in the Sahara. Whole cultures in south america just gone cuz it don't rain anymore. Dinosaur extinction by asteroid and life has recovered. Seems the climate and life system is more robust than we have been lead to believe.
I wholly agree about global warming. Looking a the cycles the earth has gone through long before man had influence shows that global warming and cooling is entirely a natural cycle. Contrary to the alertists, our forests on on an increase in most of the Americas as well as Europe. We do have effect in other ways though. For instance, while we were blatantly using chlorofluorocarbons, it caused marked damage to the ozone layer. Since correcting that problem, it appears the ozone layer is well on it's way to recovery. Our production of some other gases are also causing an marked increase in acid rain. This is something that's been known since the 60's and something we can correct.
ll.13 LasVegas6 years ago
Unless the methane can be capped somehow... (but not to be used in cars)
VIRON ll.136 years ago
Stop worrying about Natural gas for a minute to think about Artificial poisons and carcinogenic pollutants in the air and water. Because forever, life has thrived in the same natural gasses. "Fossil fuels" were once dinosaurs and plants, right?
westfw VIRON6 years ago
There are natural poisons and carcinogens too.
Forget about your SUVs, the pollution they emit is equivalent to the coal fires burning in China. What is of big concern is the use of coal for electricity. America in this case is not at the forefront. The plants used for burning coal to produce electricity are old and new, and like an old car and a new one they pollute the environment respectively.
Coal burning releases lovely things into the environment like arsenic, mercury, lead and sulfur dioxide which combines with oxygen in the atmosphere to become sulfuric acid, and later to fall as "acid rain".
Coal is used because it is the cheapest, and I think because of its high pollution ratio to energy output, should suffer regulations to use the latest "filtering" technology. This was implemented in the 1970's, but loop holes remain. The government can make these companies accountable, through taxing their pollution to energy ratio, not by insisting the technology be there, that in affect gives a pretext for companies to compete to be the most efficient not just, the most profitable. But this can only happen if we, likewise make our governments accountable.
Here's a cool link: http://www.energyjustice.net/
ewilhelm (author) 6 years ago
The question doesn't ring true for me. There's an insinuation that a technological solution will emerge to solve all of our problems. As an engineer, I desperately want that to be true, and want to take part in creating that technological solution (considering my current line of work, I will most likely do this through education); however, I know that a planet-wide issue will require technology only as part of a bigger solution.

Take energy as an example: Humanity consumes somewhere around 18 TW (18 x 1012 watts) of power. There's enough incoming solar radiation and wind motion in the atmosphere that solar or wind energy alone could satisfy our needs. However, these forms of energy are not appropriate everywhere we live, and shipping energy is often expensive and difficult. So, even though the total available power from geothermal, tidal, hydro, biomass and many other forms can't provide for our total consumption, they will play a role in a multi-faceted solution. Just listing these resources together makes it obvious that technology is not the only factor: Governments, individual behavior, and a whole host of other things need to be considered.

To answer the question, technology should be used to better inform. Preserving the environment will require action from multiple directions, and the more people that know and understand the various issues, the better.
A very lively discussion of this question on the Instructables forums:
http://www.instructables.com/forum/TG5F629F54HMGNX/
westfw6 years ago
Speaking of White LEDs... Walmart has apparently discovered that they can save a whopping 92% by replacing their always-on fluorescent freezer case lighting with "smart" LED lighting. There are a number of synergistic factors that contribute to this: fluorescents don't like cold and LEDs do, and the efficiency improvement of the LEDs over fluorescents is multiplied by not having to pump the waste heat out of the freezers. Probably WAY safer too...
Here's the original article
. From the URL given: "... also contributed to customer satisfaction." . If I'm not mistaken, that's retail-ese for "bought more stuff." I wonder if that's a temporary, gee-whiz effect or something more substantial? Does the spectrum of LEDs reduce impulse control? OMG, has WalMart figured out yet another way to make us buy more?!?!?
westfw6 years ago
OK, getting back to the topic... Improve telecommuting technology to the point where the number of people who telecommute can be drastically increased. Not that there aren't problems with telecommuting...
Kiteman westfw6 years ago
I would so like to be able to telecommute to school. Lessons by email, no nit-ridden children to avoid...
NachoMahma6 years ago
. I think your question is wrong. It should be "How can we limit the damage our technology does to the environment?" Mankind has a very poor track record when it comes to using technology to make the environment "better." Eg, dams and channelization, shoreline preservation and "restoration," etc. We just don't understand well enough how the environment works to go around messing with it. . Ie, the best way to preserve the environment is to keep technology away from it. Since that is not feasible, do the least amount of damage possible and let Mother Nature heal herself.
Except that technology in general DOES go to improve the environment. I've heard that Europe was choking in a cloud of wood smoke before fossil fuels were discovered (not to mention denuding forests at a furious rate.) The air in Los Angeles today is much cleaner than it was 20 years ago due to advances in air pollution control; cleaner cars and fuels and stuff. There may be too many "always-on" computers in the world, but they do more work per Watt than the computers of yore (not to mention that the power supplies are about three times as efficient as they used to be.) Technology permits MORE people to live with the same environmental impact. Unfortunately, it simultaneously permits MORE people to live "adequately" than would maintain a stable environment. It's not technology that's the problem, it's too many people. And that's a much more complex problem than mere technology can solve.
. You're just using today's technology to "fix" the problems caused by yesterday's technology. And we'll try to use tomorrow's technology, to "fix" what we're screwing up with the technology du jour.
. Not that technology is inherently bad (or good), it's just that we humans don't seem to have the foggiest idea of how Mother Nature really works. But that doesn't stop us from trying to "help" Her out.
. Technology, when properly applied, can be a marvelous thing - but technology alone will not solve our problems. As you pointed out, when we find a way to make ppl less polluting, all we do is cram more ppl into the same area. What does that accomplish?
.
> It's not technology that's the problem, it's too many people. And that's a much more complex problem than mere technology can solve.
. Now that I can agree with without qualification. All you big-city ppl are mucking everything up. :)
<< How can we better use technology to preserve the environment? >> It's hard to find just ONE miraculous solution. There must be a global plan. As stated by ToolUsingAnimal, we're in a world of consumer societies. So, my first and only "miraculous" solution would be : - less technology. To better use technology to preserve the environment, we should use it less ... My global plan : 1) we could learn (or at least teach to the youth) to use it (the technology) only when required. 2) our governments should create taxes on "entertaining devices" (mainly related to video games, sound and movies) according to their power consumption ... (about 400 Wh for a computer used just to play video games or for a PS3, it's too much !! and i don't count the consumption of the screen !!) ... 3) tax cars according to their fuel consumption ... 4) more tax over fuel (Here, a liter of gasoline (about 0.26 US gallons) is about 1.3 euros (US$1.75, or US$6.6 for 1 gallon), so, when you fill your tank (about 40 liters or 10 US gallons), you're happy to have a car with low consumption (and who pollute less then), and when you buy a new one, you look at the more economical (and, thus, indirectly, at the less polluting) 5) make public transport more available and free (that's not the case where i live) 6) make secure places where you could leave your bicycle without being afraid of thieves 7) replace eavily polluting coal and gaz power plants by nuclear power plants (new generations are more efficient and produce less wastes). 8) increase the use of renewable energy sources (at least to make ecologists happy). ... Good luck for your battle royale ;-)
So raising taxes is going to save the environment? Hmm... The Brits should have used that argument back in 1776!
If you compare Europeans and USAians behaviors related to cars, i'd say : yes, it would have a great impact. How much liters per 100km for an average USAian car ? Mine uses about 7 liters per 100km ( 2.98 US gallon per 100 miles ). A full tank cost me about 50 euros ( US$ 67.5 ) and i can make up to 600km ( 373 miles) max if i don't press the accelerator too much. As it is quite expensive, i usually take my car only when required (less pollution). As petroleum is going rare, GWB should take this occasion to rise taxes over it (and encourage general-motors and co to make economical cars instead of these mini trucks and wheeled boats ...)
I get about the same mileage on on my car. I'm very opposed to the American practice of buying and using these wasteful SUVs. They are no safer than any over vehicle and in most cases, much less. The problem is American consumers buy all the bull they're fed by the auto industry. I agree that your fuel taxes are outragous. Taxes are not going to stop the waste though. They will just produce a larger welfare system. BTW: There's no such thing as a USAian.
Taxes would help, the higher gas prices are raised, the less people use their cars, the more they carpool. Although, just raising the price would be better than feeding the money to the gov. If the gas stations could all just raise the price (they barely make any money from selling gas...a few cents per customer) then the money would go into the economy. ..The problem is, the govt can't raise the taxes, it just wouldn't go over with everyone. And the has stations can't raise the prices because their only excuse for them being so high is that they aren't making money off it, and they would compete to have the lowest price, until it's the same as before.
All that raising taxes on fuel would do is make the poor poorer, reduce the already dwindling middle class and allow the wealthy exclusive use of the public roads. The answer isn't to tax fossil fuels, but to eliminate our dependence on it. BTW: Hydrogen is not a solution. All hydrogen currently produced is from fossil fuels. It's just moving the exhaust pipe.
About "poor poorer", here, the governement redistributes the money to the poorers. So, they usually get back (and usually a little more) what they over-payed.
As I said... A larger welfare system.
Is it that bad ?
From The Fall of Democracy

When the thirteen colonies were still a part of England, Professor Alexander Tyler wrote about the fall of the Athenian republic over two thousand years previous to that time:

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.

Alexander Tyler
In our modern "civilizations" (mainly based on globalization, technologies, media and buisness), would the cycle described by Tyler be still the same ?

If so :

USA would be in the "abundance to selfishness" or "selfishness to complacency" phase.

EU would be in the "apathy to dependency" phase.

China would be in the "spiritual faith (political faith actually) to great courage" or "great courage to liberty" phase.

India would be in the "liberty to abundance" phase ??

???

The Tyler's vision of the cycle of civilizations sound good at first sight.
But in a world where every civilizations are in interactions and are interdependent (economicaly, as well as ecologicaly), does it still hold water ?

Nowaday, if there are slaves, they are the poorest who have a limited set of choices because if they want to survive, they have to do the work that nobody want to do. That could be the modern form of bondage ...

Currently, "our slaves" (i will talk only for the EU) are mainly in Asia. They are whole nations of poor peoples.
It seems to me, then, that the Tyler's cycle still fit in our modern world ...

Well ... I hope Tyler is not 100% right, 'cause the next step for my union would be "dependency back to bondage" (as China is going to become a powerfull nation, we (EUsians) may become the "slaves" of their civilisation .......... Xo]
I've had this very conversation many times in the past. I think generally, Tyler's statements hold true even in modern societies. Scary, isn't it? Another fascinating study in this process is the original Foundation Trilogy by Issac Asimov. It demonstrates the natural transitions from one form of government into another taking the process full cycle. As to bondage, I don't see that as necessarily slavery. There are many that are forced to work a menial job without options, never able to own property or advancing. To me, that would constitute bondage. Even our process of purchasing property might be considered a form of bondage. "Mortgage" is Latin for "Death Pledge," a carry over from selling one's freedom to cover a debt.
I agree on making the poor poorer, but not on the middle class lower. It would simply encourage them that rather then going to the store whenever they are out of apples, to wait until there's a longer list of supplies, to reduce trips. To ride your bike to a friend's house instead of being driven. If the changes were made, the middle class would stay right where it is.
That's baloney. As it is now. The current fuel cost increases has reduced my income by almost half and increased my cost of doing business by a large margin. I can't raise prices or I'll loose even more business. If the middle class can no longer afford to work and the small business can no longer afford as many employees, the middle class dwindles.
Do you mean bologna? ..I suppose you're right..I hadn't considered people with long commutes for there work.
baloney
noun informal
1 foolish or deceptive talk; nonsense : typical salesman's baloney. corruption of bologna .
2 variant of bologna .

bologna (also bologna sausage)
noun
a large smoked, seasoned sausage made of various meats, esp. beef and pork.

No... I think I meant baloney.
Geesh, sorry.
hehehe... no prob! :)
USAnian, i forgot the 'n' ... =o)

Yeah, you're probably right about the welfare system ... : "i pay, so i'm free to pollute" (is that what you mean ?)

I have to admit that high taxes over petrol is not something new here. So, we are used to that ... and that would be whole different story for USAnians ...

That's maybe why the government of USA (or state governors) should use the fact that petroleum is going rare as a pretext to change the mentality of the first consumers of the world =o) .... just a little lie to help ...
There's also no such thing as a USAnian. We are called Americans. I could probably use a derogatory term for your nationality too if I knew what it was, but I have no intrest in that. I'd just appreciate not seeing it for my nationality.
I was not intended to offend you. If i did, i appologize about that.

But to me, "USAnian" has nothing derogatory at all, it was just a demonym that i used to be geographically more precise, since "American" also relates to Canadians, Mexicans, Bolivians, Bresilians etc etc etc ...

On wikipedia, there is a list of all the alternative names for the citizens of the USA :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_adjectives_for_U.S._citizens

As the counterpart of American is European, the counterparts of USAnian, USAian, USAn, Stater, United-States American, are EUnian, EUsian, European-Union European =o)

Now, as far as i'm concerned, the counterpart of Nevadian is French =o)

Honestly, it was not meant to be offensive ... Hope you will not ignore me just because of that .............. :-(
Well over half the price of a litre of petrol ("gas") is actually duty imposed by HMG. It is around 96p/litre at the moment, roughly $10 per gallon.
LasVegas6 years ago
Force the Auto industry to give us the practical electric cars that we all know are feasible, but not produced because of the lack of fossil fuel needs and repair costs.
The European "Smart Cars" are supposed to be coming soon. The problem is that us Americans like our cargo space. ..what kind of safety ratings to they have?
The SMART forTwo (The tiny one) has a safety rating of 3 (Euro NCAP 5 Star Rating system)
The SMART forFour (Larger 4 seater) has a Euro NCAP safety rating of 4/5

Website
If you were to take the Smart Car to the next level and use newer battery technology, you could get even better mileage or like mileage with a larger car. The problem is, that battery technology is currently controlled by the oil industry.
And if you recharge your electric car with a polluting power plant, i wonder what will be the most ecological ...
Other than coal and fossil fuel, electricity production isn't polluting and use turbine engines which are much more efficient than internal combustion engines
gyromild6 years ago
The sad truth is, profitability and economic concerns have always take precedence over environmental preservation, that’s almost human nature, and will not change anytime soon.. Its all about the money..If technology able to infuse higher profitability/ immediate returns/ lower cost into environmental friendly practices (higher returns/lower cost than other non-friendly alternatives)..Then only we will see significant changes..
Profitability is the whole reason to make greed products. The green part is simply a by-product. The communists and socialists have tried so many time to "make" an economy behave to their vision. Fail. Why do we want to model our society after failed systems? The economy will go green when consumers demand it. When the vast majority of Americans don't want oil based energy. That hasn't happened. I want cheap transportation. Embrace the PROFIT point of view, and you CAN change the world.
VIRON rc jedi6 years ago
A friend of mine lives where he works and plays. He once said... "Why go on vacation when you can live there?" So, he has cheap transportation. Walk is cheap. I'm almost like that too. And we both like green stuff: Solar, Wind, Electric cars, gardens, etc. I often say, if everyone works in a $#!+ factory, their money only buys $#!+.
rc jedi VIRON6 years ago
i'm into r/c planes and mostly fly electric. The electric car challenge teases me, but I just don't have the hobby money to spare. maybe i will do 1 someday. but i may be talked ito a motorized couch. we can't walk here. texas is not like the east, few sidewalks. well maybe in Austin or San Antonio we always point out people walking here, (Victoria). either bums or out of towners. humidity 80-99% and 90 deg. heat index terrible. kind of a joke, but true.
VIRON6 years ago
We can use technology better to help the environment in small groups interested in their local environment and having efficient use of energy. Petitioning the government to try something sets all regulation process out of phase and starts an explosion of entropy and chaos, because as soon as something is done that doesn't work, it will take more time to fix it through bureaucratic means than it did to get it in the first place. Also realize that the desert has different wants and needs than the forest and the seashore and all the other environments. Don't forget the corruption factor. You can scream at "big oil's" (+etc.) bought deaf puppets all you want and not much will happen except an occasional speech or something, and a minute of smiling and clapping. If you want something done right, do it yourself, and fix only what's broken. Get working on the good stuff immediately, just do it, and stop "wishing the evil corporations away so we can buy the good green stuff".
Well there are the obvious reasons of becoming more energy efficient. Continuing to develop our appliances and every day energy consumers including

  • Water heaters
  • Pool heaters
  • Air conditioner/heater (three most energy consuming processes in a house)
  • Cars, etc.
But then there are all the breaking ground developments, such as hurricane preventive methods, and emergency solutions to global warming...such as a proposed fleet of wind powered ice cannons to build a giant ice cube and prevent an ice age in Europe.

Through science, solutions can be discovered for most problems, provided we have the time. In short, the answer to your question is: everything.
"hurricane preventive methods" For example using certain powders that can be used to soak up the water and moisture in the air. These powders are commonly used in hospitals to make blood a structure rather than keeping it at it's liquid state.
They also are developing some pumps that use the waves power to work. It's a long floating (vertical) tube, theres a buoy up top, and a buck like thing at the bottom.When the buoy gets to the bottom of a wave, the bucket is farther down, then at the peak, it forces the bucket to bring up cold water. (Hurricanes want warm water)
Mostly unrelated, I saw a spech by "our" president where he stated that we were trying,diplomatically, to move China from a nation of savers to a nation of "consumers". With that kind of mentality in the upper echelons, no technology is going to save the planet.
Brennn106 years ago
Well one way of being eco-friendly and using technology, is actually, but "Not" using technology. Your television spends extra energy while it is on standby, than when it is just turned off. So, turn off your technology when you feel you will not use it!
VIRON6 years ago
Kill the planned obsolescence paradigm, which generates lots of trash, and instead build things to last forever like Roman roads. Use durable and high resistance chips in computers, and use the former "General Purpose Microcomputer" paradigm. Computers that need to be updated until they fill up or break down are bad. Thank god for versions of Linux that run faster than windows on old machines. If the machine is too old to run windows, make a useful DOS robot out of it. One great app for a DOS or other GPM is controlling a greenhouse environment, timing hydroponics, cow milkers, watering, and all kinds of 'agri-functions'. I always say... Machines MUST be our slaves, not our masters. (and never do "I AGREE" to a EULA. The machine MUST WORK.) Ambient energy is sufficient when machines are efficient enough to use it. (That is free energy like wind and solar.) In Colonial times wind powered sailing ships around the globe. Now we have solar power and technology efficient enough to conserve it. Now we have non-technical solar stills for water purification. We've had electric cars for a hundred years. Cities used to be centers of industry and greater efficiency than rural areas. But then they became too crowded to be self sufficient for producing food. They started producing mass quantities of rubbish and paperwork. Corruption ate the fruit of the efficiency of cooperation. Now there are fees for everything, like arbitrary and high parking tickets. Gas taxes pay for bridges and who knows where the bridge tolls go. Lottery pays for education, and where does property tax go? People became strangers and cooperation was lessened, everything got expensive, the city I know became a concrete desert. Increased Efficiency should reduce all expenses. My friends started a farm. In the past we had cooperated on Makeing tech projects of any and all types, and cooperatively there was lots of innovation and the rate of new toys made was higher then. But on the farm, they created it within a year and became self sufficient. They used the windmill for their lighting, as well as the available solar garden lights. The animals eat their grain. The plants make fruit and veggies. The birds lay their eggs. The horses get great mileage. Bureaucracy and Dilbertism are beyond my understanding. Why make waste paper? It's not just about wasting trees as wasting life-time producing rubbish. Being Amish would be more fun... but even more so if they could use more technology. I don't believe the robots will ever need to get smart enough to rise up against their masters. A garden should produce both food and flowers. I envision even the deserts blooming with life, if we both nurture and automate the process of establishing it there, and maintaining education on at least one skill, if not many, we all can't be jacks of all trades... the lame and the mentally challenged may or may not be able to find something to do. On global warming, can we just make un-solar roofs white, and all pavement white? I don't believe in greenhouse gas because it makes the plants grow. I don't believe in toxic carbon because life is made of it. I see the ice melting and the ocean level DROPPING, although the more rain is manifesting hurricanes and erosion until it finds it's way into the desert. Acid rain maybe a problem. The sun coming through holes in the ozone layer is a festering one. I see RoHS as simply creating another useless but expensive job with less valuable return... except the Possibility of discovering new useful chemicals. And an excuse to remain in Planned Obsolescence mode. I see HDTV as an expensive redundancy to computer monitors, which already do the job, and force the dumping of millions of OLD TV's, and also another case of entertainment versus innovation. And I see the law of unintended consequences enforcing itself like a monster. We are a part of nature and we need to tame it and make it work with us, not pave over it and not create an unstable economy controlled by bureaucracies that are very slow to respond to sudden changes. We need to know as much as we can, not to read professors minds to pass tests and get degrees, but to know how to live as well as possible in our environment. My own standard of living is surprisingly high for someone who lives below poverty by the standard of currency. I'm not skilled at collecting currency at all, but very much skilled in turning trash into treasure. From my point of view, money doesn't make the world go around, angular momentum does... and I noticed this when I was "broke" once, just watching, sitting on the knot at the end of my rope. We should green our lots and our neighbors will want to do the same, I hope. Self Sufficiency (but not to be a hermit) would be ideal. Maybe a better term is Symbiosis with the environment. Plant a seed and a huge tree may grow, that's an intentional metaphor.
jtobako6 years ago
Quit using most of it : ) Software lifetime measured in decades, not months : ) (Why should I need another new computer and cell phone just to keep up with software?) I'm not a Luddite. I just don't see the benefit of planned obsolescence.