Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dr. David Suzuki on Education for a Changing Biosphere

Uploaded on May 14, 2009
Education for a Changing Biosphere: Ecology and Economics.

Dr. David Suzuki's keynote address at Simon Fraser University's "First Year in Focus: Engaging Students in their First Year and Beyond" conference on Wednesday May 13, 2009.

Human beings have exploded in numbers, technological prowess and consumptive demand with a consequent ecological footprint that is undermining the very life support systems of the planet.

As we have moved to an urban environment, the economy has become our highest priority predicated on the notion that a healthy economy is constantly growing in order to afford to do everything that matters.

We have come to see the twin crises of economic meltdown and ecological degradation as mutually exclusive so we tackle one or the other. Yet ecology, the study of survival and well being of species, informs us that without clean air, water, soil and energy and biodiversity, like any other species, we suffer and die.

Environmentalism recognizes that we also have social and spiritual needs that are just as essential for the full development of our potential.

The economy, like the market and currency, are not forces of nature like gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. It is a human invention and since it is deeply flawed, it is a mistake to do all we can to perpetuate it, we have to fix it.

Two fundamentals flaws are the dismissal of natures "services" (pollination, cleansing water, exchange of CO2 for O2, etc) as externalities and the belief that the economy can and must grow indefinitely.

Dr. Suzuki explores some of our misconceptions, fundamental truths and reconciliation of ecology and economics.
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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Vandium Redox Flow Battery - From Imergy Power Systems

This magic box is called a vanadium redox flow battery. The heart of a flow battery are two electrolyte solutions — one positive, one negative — contained in separate tanks. When the solutions are pumped through a power cell containing a membrane, a chemical reaction takes place that generates electricity. When the process is reversed, the electrolyte stores energy.
The key component is vanadium, a naturally occurring element that can exist in positive and negative states, eliminating the contamination and degradation that occurs when two different elements are used to create a chemical reaction. Flow batteries are not as efficient as solid-state lithium-ion batteries. But unlike lithium-ion batteries that lose their capacity over time as they charge and discharge, the nontoxic electrolyte in a vanadium flow battery is endlessly reusable and never loses its efficiency.
Vanadium flow batteries are not new — an Australian scientist named Maria Skyllas-Kazacos invented the technology in 1985. But there was a catch. Two, actually. The battery needed pure and pricey vanadium to work. And the fact that the electrolyte became unstable at 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) limited the usefulness of the batteries.
“The electrolyte was always the one cost you couldn’t squeeze because you needed pure vanadium,” says Tim Hennessy, Imergy’s president, who previously ran a Vanadium battery company in China. “So the batteries ended up being about 50 percent more expensive.”
But Imergy claims it has made a big breakthrough. First, chief technology officer Majid Keshavarz developed a novel electrolyte chemistry that allows Imergy to use a lower grade of vanadium that can be extracted from iron ore waste, oil sludge, or fly ash generated by coal-powered power plants.
Their 30 KW battery will be housed in a 40' shipping container and cost >$15,000, should be in production by 2017.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Years of Living Dangerously Premiere Full Episode

Published on Apr 6, 2014
Hollywood celebrities and respected journalists span the globe to explore the issues of climate change and cover intimate stories of human triumph and tragedy. Watch new episodes Sundays at 10PM ET/PT, only on SHOWTIME.

Subscribe to the Years of Living Dangerously channel for more:http://s.sho.com/YearsYouTube

Official site: http://www.sho.com/yearsoflivingdange...
The Years Project: http://yearsoflivingdangerously.com/
Follow: https://twitter.com/YEARSofLIVING
Like: https://www.facebook.com/YearsOfLiving
Watch on Showtime Anytime: http://s.sho.com/1hoirn4
Don't Have Showtime? Order Now: http://s.sho.com/P0DCVU

It's the biggest story of our time. Hollywood's brightest stars and today's most respected journalists explore the issues of climate change and bring you intimate accounts of triumph and tragedy. YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY takes you directly to the heart of the matter in this awe-inspiring and cinematic documentary series event from Executive Producers James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Hidden Costs of Carbon Fuels

The problem with MCHM (4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol), a coal-washing chemical created by humans, is that you can not filter it out of the water. Thanks to "Freedom Industries".

From Here and Now:

It’s been called one of the most serious episodes of drinking water contamination in U.S. history. Four months after thousands of gallons of the coal-washing chemical MCHM spilled from an unregulated above-ground storage tank into the Elk River, many people in and around Charleston, West Virginia, are still using bottled water.
Water bans after the Jan. 9 spill lasted as long as nine days in some Charleston communities. But residents continue to report that the water smells like licorice and it has sent people to the emergency room. A recent article in The New Yorker that profiled the power of the coal industry in West Virginia called the spill an accident with no clear ending, with the most basic question — “Is the water safe?” — unanswered.
Dr. Rahul Gupta, who runs the Kanawha-Charleston and Putnam County health departments in Charleston, West Virginia, speaks with Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti about the ongoing water crisis.

(Ever see what happens when you have a Solar Power Spill?)