I did not know that about Spain...but funny, I did pass a large solar array when I was driving from Spain last week back to Portugal with some friends...so I guess that makes sense! But yes, I suppose financing is tricky. Portugal's economy is in the gutter as well. There are opportunities here for many people, however, to be off grid with their own solar power and wind turbines, and I know a few people who manage it successfully. This takes the load off the larger electricity grid.
Spain has boasted a 100% renewable energy sourcing, but at the detriment of their economy. It still needs subsidizing heavily to compete with the low cost of conventional sources. It's a tough world for energy production.
Ha, Cabe, yes, I do live most people's holidays, but it isn't all easy...as you can see, I do work a bit. :) But it is a lovely lifestyle and place.
So I exaggerated a bit about the amount of electricity coming from wind here ...but there is still a lot going on here. In this NYTimes article, it says the country is aiming for 60 percent of electricity to come from wind by 2020...and 31 percent of energy overall. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/science/earth/10portugal.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
It's a small country but that still is pretty good! The wind turbines in that photo are just down the road from me. There is a fair amount of solar work being done as well. Not bad for a country that in many other ways is quite behind the times! (I have lived here for three years...believe me, I know!)
Interesting story about the Johnsons, Cabe! I agree that the lifestyle isn't very appealing, even if it's admirable that some people can do it. Living here in Portugal and being a surfer, I have learned to reduce certain kinds of waste (single-use plastic, for example) because I see the effects first hand on the natural environment and the ocean. But to reduce waste to zero would be really hard and a full-time job. Good to try, though...and if companies can start reusing and recycling energy and then making this available to us through electronics and alternative electricity options (here in Portugal, a good bit of energy on the grid is from wind turbines), then it's a good place to start without being too painful for the end user.
The "Johnson family of California" recycles and preserves everything to a point where they throw away only a few handfuls of trash a year. They are not the only ones either. It can be done. But to be honest, their lifestyle is not that appealing.
I read this a feel pretty awful for all the garbage I tossed out recently.
Harevesting, recycling, reusing...these are all the ways forward now before we use up everything we have and are FORCED to do it. I think my parents instilled in me value for things even though I don't care about having lots of them in general. I was always the type of person who would use something even if it was falling apart...until it absolutely broke. And even then I would try to fix it. The idea of use once and throwaway has become way too commonplace. Harvesting and recycling what we can to turn it into something else--whether it be metal, plastic or what have you--is the best thing we can do to promote a healthier planet. It also makes sense financially if you can get the numbers right.
i remember those, Cabe...what a simple concept, and I wonder now why it took so long for solar power to catch on. I guess people are now starting to learn from the past but I agree, I think this type of harvesting could have been started years ago and been further along in its progression by now.
The distant future will feature mining landfills, I am sure of it. The precious lithium will get recovered at all costs. Not to mention all the metals recovered there too. A century of building these landfills have created mountains, as you can see in some cities. Inside it is a television from the 1950s, packed with all sorts of precious metals. It waits for someone to recover in the future.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
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