All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).
Visit and follow us on Instagram at @crg_globalresearch.
Environmentalists have known for decades that the “greenest” form of energy available is reduction of useless and harmful energy. Over 50 years ago, the first Earth Day embodied this with “Reduce; Reuse; Recycle.” Today, that seems to be replaced with the slogan “Recycle; Occasionally Reuse; and, Never Utter ‘Reduce.’” Even mentioning the word “reduce” can be met with complaints that “Reduction means ‘austerity,’” as if any type of collective self-control would plunge the world into depths of suffering.
Unquestioning enthusiasm for “alternative energy” (AltE) can open the door for endless consumerism. It avoids the real problem, which is uncontrolled economic growth.
Overproduction for what purpose?
Acceptance of consumerism hides the twin issues that AltE creates its own negative outcomes and that lowering the amount of harmful production could actually improve the quality of life. Simply decreasing the amount of toxic poisons required for overproduction would cut down on cancers, brain damage, birth defects and immune system disorders.
No one would suffer from the massive toxins that would be eliminated by halting the manufacture of military armaments or disallowing the design of electrical devices to fall apart. Very few would be inconvenienced by discontinuing lines of luxury items which only the rich can afford to purchase.
Food illustrates of how lowering production has nothing to do with worsening our lives. Relying on food produced by local communities instead of food controlled by international corporations would mean eliminating the processing of food until it loses most nutritional value. It would mean knowing many of the farmers who grow our food instead of transporting it over 2000 miles before it reaches those who eat it. It would cut out advertising hyper-sugarfied food to kids.
When I first began studying environmentalism over 30 years ago, I remember hearing that if a box of corn flakes costs $1, then 1¢ went to the farmer and $.99 went to the corporations responsible for processing the corn, packaging it, transporting the package and advertising it. Reduction does not mean “doing without” – it means getting rid of the excess.
Closely linked to food is health. My book on Cuban Health Care: The Ongoing Revolution points out that the island nation’s life expectancy is longer and infant mortality lower than that in the US while it spends less than 10% per person of what the US does. Reducing energy devoted to health care does not mean less or worse care. It means getting rid of the gargantuan unnecessary and expensive components which currently engulf health care.
Electric vehicles (EVs) embody collective environmental amnesia. Once upon a time, not too many decades ago, people wrote of walkable/bikeable communities and some even put their dreams to the test. Let’s not crush that dream. Since AltE has become so popular, the idea of redesigning urban space is being pushed aside so that every person can have at least one EV. Memory of environmental conservation has fallen into oblivion.
It may not be getting better all the time
Despite the hype about AltE, use of energy is expanding, not contracting. We are constantly told to buy the latest electronic gadget – and the time period between successive versions of gadgets gets shorter and shorter. AltE can exacerbate the energy crisis by distracting society from practicing conservation.
The Bitcoin Ponzi scheme reveals the expansion of energy in the service of uselessness. Jessica McKenzie describes a coal-burning power plant in Dresden, NY. The plant was shut down because the local community had no use for its energy. But Bitcoin needs energy to compute its complex algorithms. So, like Dracula, the coal plant rose from the dead, transformed into a gas burning plant.
What, exactly, are politicians like Joe Biden, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and even Bernie Sanders doing to put the breaks on this expansion of FFs in programs like the Green New Deal (GND)? Not as much as you might think. As Noam Chomsky points out in his forward to Stan Cox’ The Green New Deal and Beyond, “… the GND does not challenge the fossil-fuel industry.” Congressional proposals leave out the most critical part of reducing FFs – limiting the total quantity that can be produced. Instead, they rely on the false assumption that increasing AltE will somehow cause a decrease in FF use. Without a “cap” on FF production, AltE simply adds to the energy mix.
Are problems with AltE “minimal?”
Despite stated goals to end FF production by such-and-such a date, the high heat they generate is essential for producing (1) silicon wafers for solar panels, (2) concrete and steel used in construction of windmills and dams, and (3) plastic coverings for industrial windmill blades. Every type of AltE requires FFs. Supporters of AltE often say that it is so much smaller as to pale by comparison to direct use of FFs.
Claiming that the amount of FFs used by AltE is trivial ignores both the quantities actually being used now and, most importantly, the uncontrollable corporate urge toward infinite growth. Hydro-power (dams) is currently the greatest source of AltE and is in line to expand most rapidly. Ben Gordesky describes research showing that “Canadian large-scale hydro projects have an ongoing carbon footprint that is approximately 40% that of electricity generated by burning natural gas. These emissions do not include the carbon footprint of dam construction.” This is not an insignificant amount of FFs used by dams, especially since hydro-power “is expected to grow by at least 45% by 2040.”
Estimates are that “Solar and wind have a carbon footprint of 4% to 8% of natural gas.” For the sake of simpler arithmetic, let’s say that hydro, wind and solar average 12.5% of the carbon footprint of FFs (even though is it probably much higher). Then, let’s say that healthy capitalism grows at least 3% annually, which means a doubling in size every 25 years. If AltE requires 12.5% of the equivalent FFs now, then,
To put it bluntly, reliance on AltE in no way eliminates FF usage – in only 75 years economic growth would return us to current FF levels.
But would we have to wait 75 years to see current levels of FF restored? For some parts of the economy, the answer is definitely “No.” As Stan Cox documents, “… the huge increase in mines, smelters, factories and transportation required for this transition [to EVs] would continue heightened CO2 levels long before any emission savings would be realized.”
It might be possible theoretically to concentrate energy to reach the extremely high temperatures necessary for production of wind turbines and silicon wafers for solar arrays. Relying on Cox’ calculations, expanding infrastructure to reach 100% AltE by 2030 “… would require a 33-fold increase in industrial expansion, far more than has ever been achieved anywhere and would result in complete ecological devastation. One little fact regarding this quantity of build-up is that 100% RE would require more land space than used for all food production and living areas in the 48 contiguous states.”
Time for despair?
Is it time to throw up our hands in despair that the only route to preserve humanity is a return to hunter/gatherer existence? Not really. Focusing on local, community-based energy can create sufficient production for human needs.
Child Labor in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Source: Don Fitz)
Many underestimate the ability of low tech devices. When in high school during the 1960s, my science project was a solar oven that could cook via medium heat. When I returned from college a few years later, my mom intimated that my dad, an engineer, thought that a solar reflector device could not possibly generate much heat. So, one morning he used it as a greenhouse for his vegetable seedlings. When he returned later that day, the plants were fried.
Solar power does not require high-tech based on massive arrays. Few techniques are more powerful at reducing energy than a passive house design or use of passive solar for existing homes. It is even possible to run a website via low tech solar without destroying farmland for gargantuan solar arrays.
The story of wind power is somewhat different. Kris De Decker edits Low-Tech Magazine which spans a variety of ways to heat, cool and provide energy. An outstanding article covers the sharp contrast between ancient wind mills vs. modern industrial wind turbines:
“For more than two thousand years, windmills were built from recyclable or reusable materials: wood, stone, brick, canvas, metal… It’s only since the arrival of plastic composite blades in the 1980s that wind power has become the source of a toxic waste product that ends up in landfills. New wood production technology and design makes it possible to build larger wind turbines almost entirely out of wood again… This would make the manufacturing of wind turbines largely independent of fossil fuels and mined materials.”
A global effort
The corporate obsession with expanding production infects every aspect of exploring, mining, transporting, using and disposing of energy infrastructure. For decades, this has been painfully obvious for FFs and nuclear power. The opposition now rippling through AltE is increasingly clear.
Just a very few examples of those challenging FFs includes Ogoni opposition to pumping oil out of Nigeria’s ground, clashes over pipelines at Standing Rock, rebutting Modi’s plan to open 41 coal plants in India and rejection of fracking in Pennsylvania. Dangers of nuclear power are reflected in demonstrations in Tokyo to remind us of Fukushima Daiichi and struggles by “Solidarity Action for the 21 Villages” in Faléa, Mali against uranium mining for French nukes. The new outbreak of conflicts over AltE is unfolding via disapproval of massive solar arrays in Klickitat County, WA; the fight against industrial wind turbine projects by the Broome Tioga Green Party, reactions by the Lenca people to the planned Agua Zarca dam in Honduras; efforts to stop Lithium Americas’ open-pit mine at Thacker Pass; and, widespread disapproval of child laborers dying in Democratic Republic of Congo cobalt mines.
In case you did not notice, the two key words common to all of these efforts is “Stop it!” A better life for all begins with rejecting limitless economic growth by developing technologies that minimize mining, processing, over-producing goods with short durations, and transporting products over long distances. Instead, we must develop locally-based products that have the least harmful effects.
One of the main problems with tunnel visioning on AltE is that how that approach accepts and perpetuates the ideology of greed, which insists that everyone in the US (and, of course, the world) must adopt the consumerist life-style of the upper middle class.
People believe in preserving what they hold sacred. For most of us, these include sacred places and beings, the inorganic world, creatures that sleep in water or on land, and human Life. Corporate profits should not be included among the things we hold sacred.
Note to readers: Please click the share buttons above or below. Follow us on Instagram, @crg_globalresearch. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.
This article first appeared on Green Social Thought.
Don Fitz ([email protected]) is on the Editorial Board of Green Social Thought where a version of this article first appeared. He was the 2016 candidate of the Missouri Green Party for Governor. His book on Cuban Health Care: The Ongoing Revolution has been available since June 2020.
Featured image: Water Protectors Occupy Work Sites and Lock Down to Line 3 Enbridge Pipeline. Thanks to Unicorn Riot. (Source: Don Fitz)
Our 5-Step Process To Start Saving On Your Energy Bills Now – Alternative Energy Systems
The first step to lowering your energy bills is very simple — all you have to do is give our team a call! We’ll come to your home or business and provide you with a free consultation and discuss your options for solar panels with an estimate. You can also visit us at our Chico showroom at a time that is convenient for you!
Our team can take a look at your utility bills with you to discover your precise needs. This will help us give you the most accurate estimate, and it will provide us with the info we need to make sure we provide your property with the right amount of power to meet your monthly needs.
Once we have outlined your needs, we’ll partner with you to design a custom solar system. No two homes or businesses use power alike, and your needs will vary from others. We will be sure to give you an affordable and well-designed system that can greatly reduce your monthly bills.
Once we have designed your system and coordinated all the appropriate permits with your local city or county, our team will get to work! Alternative Energy Systems will install your brand new solar system at your home or business.
The final step is another easy one! Once we have received permission from your utility, our team will activate your solar panels, and all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the savings! Once you are dependent on your own source of energy, you won’t have to pay the high premiums of your local energy provider!
Pyrophosphate as an alternative energy currency in plants | Biochemical Journal | Portland Press
In the conditions of [Mg2+] elevation that occur, in particular, under low oxygen stress and are the consequence of the decrease in [ATP] and increase in [ADP] and [AMP], pyrophosphate (PPi) can function as an alternative energy currency in plant cells. In addition to its production by various metabolic pathways, PPi can be synthesized in the combined reactions of pyruvate, phosphate dikinase (PPDK) and pyruvate kinase (PK) by so-called PK/PPDK substrate cycle, and in the reverse reaction of membrane-bound H+-pyrophosphatase, which uses the energy of electrochemical gradients generated on tonoplast and plasma membrane. The PPi can then be consumed in its active forms of MgPPi and Mg2PPi by PPi-utilizing enzymes, which require an elevated [Mg2+]. This ensures a continuous operation of glycolysis in the conditions of suppressed ATP synthesis, keeping metabolism energy efficient and less dependent on ATP.
Alternative Energy: The Future is here
The world is changing rapidly.
All of us were born and grew up in a world that needs to burn something to create energy, a “technology” as old as the Neanderthaler. Think of it, I am not sure when exactly fire was “invented” to heat the caves, but since that time humanity builds its progress upon that same chemical reaction.
One could argue that this one chemical reaction – the oxidation of materials under production of heat and or expansion – is – from the human perspective – nature’s most important chemical reaction. At least viewed from an economic standpoint.
Now what about those great German cars of the last 30 or so years with their magnificent engines?
Well, still something is still burned inside these machines and creates a combustion, which in turn pushes pistons. Gasoline in, a spark and off you go.
Still stone-age technology, albeit very much advanced and much more fancy.
But the Zeitgeist, and especially the limited resources of Mother Earth force us humans to find new ways to power and move our societies.
I would argue that these alternative energies are readily available. Many of them have for a long time, but needed advanced technologies to be harvested.
Alternative Energy: The Future is here
What is Alternative Energy?
So lets’ begin with the question of “What is alternative energy?” In the end energy is defined as a force being able to have an effect in this seemingly Newtonian world.
Definition of Alternative Energy
At least that is the kind of energy that our human daily lives are interested in: How to heat my home and get from A to B.
Bur for me there are more alternative energy sources than normally listed on websites dealing with this topic. I would argue that we also look at energies that come and go beyond our 3D, Newtonian world:
- What about Magnetics?
- What about gravitational energy?
To the best of my knowledge, both forces defy the “set in stone” laws of thermodynamics… they do not deplete. Otherwise Pluto would long have left or solar system and our Earth also would be uninhabitable, having left the perfect orbit around our sun.
So to me alternative energy consists of anything we can use directly or indirectly use to heat our homes or get us from A to B. We are looking here for alternatives to the burning of fossil fuels or trees.
And I do think we also have to leave our Newtonian worldview to advance technologically. Quantum Physics is “proven” and a fact but has nothing to do with the Newtonian worldview… except that the world of Newton, of objects moving to a heavenly body – stems from the Quarks and Neutrino of the Quantum World. So our world stems from the Quantum Physics world beyond.
As far as I know it is theorized that magnetism stems from another dimension reaching into ours… that might save the Laws of Thermodynamics if we expand them to that other dimension. But honestly, I do not believe that the dimension cares about our Laws of Thermodynamics.
Is Nuclear Power a Alternative Energy source?
Oh, and some claim that nuclear power is a type of alternative energy. I strongly contradict. Firstly, humanity has a t least 3 times badly burned it’s hand with this insecure, unstable and highly and long-lasting toxin “technology” – think of Sellafield, Chernobyl and Fukushima… I think there were more at least close calls.
Also: did you know that a nuclear power plant is nothing more than a very very expensive, very, very dangerous, very toxic waste producing – steam engine.
Yes, all they do is use one of the most dangerous materials on Earth to heat water to run a steam engine.
I nearly had to laugh when I learned about that fact.
And no, it does not produce CO2, but so much more toxic waste still being deadly 1000s of generations after we are gone…and by that I mean our society.
Alternative Energy types
So, having dealt with Bill Gates favorite Nuclear Fission (our Nuclear plants today) – splitting the atoms to free the energy, let us create a list of real alternative energy types. (Btw.: If we came up with Nuclear Fusion, that would be a completely different game – no wastes to my knowledge).
I see natural sources, and new technological developments, which tap into the power beyond the laws of thermodynamics.
Alternative Energy sources
So what are sources of alternative energy?
What is obvious is the natural sources:
- Tidal (indirect gravitational)
A word about geothermal energy
I should mention that geothermal in my opinion has much more potential to get us to carbon-free than we give it credit. Right now, you would think that geothermal energy only would work in ie. sn volcanic environment like Iceland.
If there is not enough heat close to the earth’s surface, we believe we have to dig too deep to find enough heat.
As Nuclear Fission, Geothermal energy works by heating up water which in turn turns a steam engine.
Now, what happens if we do not use water for creating the “steam”, but some benign chemical (in a closed circuit, no leaking into the earth) that boils much earlier than water does (at 100°C)? Then we would not have to dig nearly as deep in areas with any volcanic activity.
I would go so far as to say that with this technology we could power any city in the world with enough electricity by digging only a few dozen or hundred meters, until it becomes warm enough for this alternative fluid to reach its boiling point and become steam – driving the blades and creating electricity.
Some ask which of these energy sources are exhaustible: Well, in billions of years all of them, even our sun will one day vanish. But in thousands of lifetimes all these energy sources will not fail us.
Magnetics as an Alternative Energy source
But it gets better. Here is favorite (future) alternative energy source:
We all have heard of impossible fantastic machines that do not need fuels and still somehow create drive around, cars built by some obscure lay scientist, that run on unknown energies.
You heard stories like this if you had your antennas not locked on only to the mass media (and even there I read about these things).
But we are always told by experts that it all was just a hoax and we never heard about the developments again.
Have a look at https://innovationt.com .
They are already building engines that are powered by magnetics alone.
This is the website of a company that solves energy needs with “future” technologies. And they are actually implementing magnetic engines … without any need for fuel.
I heard about this the first time on the Kryon channel…and am intrigued ever since. But check it out yourself:
For me, this is the alternative energy solution….using forces out of the quantum field or another dimension to heat our homes and power our cars .
This for me is great news and promises a great future.
Health3 weeks ago
COVID-19: World Health Assembly to focus on ending pandemic
Health1 month ago
Remote therapy was a mental health lifeline during the pandemic. What happens now?
Global News3 weeks ago
German Climate Scientist Warns of Irreversible Global Warming
Tech News2 months ago
Where Is Zoom Video (NASDAQ: ZM) Going Next?
Global News1 month ago
Global car manufacturer says Australia is failing to lure electric vehicle importers – ABC News
Health1 month ago
GOP Reps Introduce Resolution to Condemn Chinese Health Officials Over COVID Pandemic
Uncategorized1 month ago
Entrepreneur Franchise of the Day: Dog Guard
Business2 months ago
Uncover Market Trends to Build a Sustainable Business Strategy