Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “energy intensive”

Christmas Tree Graveyard – Roger Ingalls

Driving to work today, I passed a usually vacant lot and noticed it was full of Christmas trees. I stared at it for a moment and then realized it was a temporary drop site for discarded trees that were destine for the wood chipper at the local recycling center. It was a sad sight.

xmas tree

Thirty million living trees get cut down, displayed for a few weeks and then shredded into little pieces, all with a 30 day timeframe. When you really think about it, it’s a crazy wasteful tradition. A carbon eating, oxygen producing living thing is obliterated for a commercial holiday and it happens 30 million times a year, every year!

Trees are grown just for this purpose but it still seems so destructive and wasteful. It’s an energy intensive process no matter how you look at it: fuel for the machinery to prepare the ground to plant the tree, energy to actually plant the tree, natural gas to make fertilizer to grow the tree, gas to trim and then cut the tree down, fuel to transport the tree to market, gas to get the tree home, electricity to light the tree, gas to dump the tree and finally energy to grind the tree up. Wasteful.

Maybe this isn’t a big issue but all those half brown, half green trees haphazardly thrown all over the vacant lot appeared obscenely disrespectful to life itself. Perhaps a big company in need of a public relation makeover, like Walmart, could start a new tradition where they rent out living Christmas trees that can be returned after the holidays. The trees can then be planted or reused the following year.

Or maybe I shouldn’t look around when I’m driving and just ignore the craziness.

I Want a Space Suit – Roger Ingalls

Like many kids growing up in the 60s and 70s, I wanted to be an astronaut. Perched atop a metal tube filled with mega-amounts of explosives, blasting through space would have been an awesome experience. Putting on high-tech gear and floating around an Apollo capsule like Will Robinson hovering above the Jupiter 2 in Lost in Space was every boy’s dream.

My astronaut wishing days are well behind me but, in the coming years, there will be a terrestrial need for space-like attire. So, at least, I may finally get to dress like an astronaut.

MIT developed BioSuit

A few months ago I wrote a piece called Give Global Warming a Hug. This was written because we need to embrace the fact that a hotter world is here to stay for a long time and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. And the “better” will not come until humans are extinct. One of the closing lines in the hug piece was, “We need to spend our intellectual energy creating an economy that allows us to survive and prosper in the chaos of a warmer world.” Climate change will create new markets. One of the products introduced during the Warm World Economy will be a Terrestrial Environmental Suit or TES. Resembling a space suit, it will control temperature, humidity and have many other bells and whistle for comfort and entertainment.

The TES is a product of necessity for two primary reasons; sky-rocketing energy cost and the need for humans to navigate their daily existence in a hotter climate. We will soon be a world of 9,000,000,000 (nine billion) people on an already energy stressed planet. All fuels are expensive now and will exponentially increase in the future. The luxury of having cooled spaces in our cars, homes, stores and offices is energy intensive and will soon be economically unsustainable. There is no need to control the climate inside all these big spaces. We only need to manage the space immediately around our bodies and doing so will save tremendous amounts of energy.

So, wal-lah or Viola…expect a climate controlled Terrestrial Environmental Suit in stores near you soon!

Finally, after forty years I’ll get my space suit.

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