So I saw this today and it had such character and the reuse and re purposing of these materials is so neat I had to share. As most of us know, wine is often fermented in wooden barrels. Typically these barrels are oak, often from french oak trees, but what I didn’t realize is that they only last about 10 years and cost around $1000 a barrel! So this company takes the barrels which are often sold for rather cheap, straightens them out, mills then and the installs as wood flooring.
So I have been kicking around this idea for a week or two now and it certainly isn’t a entirely new concept, but it is the concept that by taking actions on the green front, will actually enhance our security. Now before we get into this, I would like to steer clear of political aspect of this discussion, with the side note those who focus on Green initiatives are sometimes seen as the polar opposites to those who focus on National Security. I think many would disagree with this view and those who didn’t could be brought to the table and see both sides. The other thing that I would assert is that this concept isn’t exclusive to America, I speak generally about the world. So here are a few examples of the threats I see and their solutions.
To expand on what I consider national security I think it is important to note that national security extends beyond terrorism and nuclear armaments. It includes anything from any source that can threaten our safety, well being and long term livability. This includes drought, blight, natural disaster, war, terrorism, etc.
If you have ever seen the documentary Food Inc. (which I highly recommend) talks about how 90% of the corn and 60% of all soy beans come from one company that are one strain. This means that a blight, whether engineered or natural, were to hit our country, we would loose 90% of all our corn in one fell swoop. This is pretty concerning when you truly understand how much of our food comes form corn and in really unexpected forms. If you look at how many individual strains of food we actually grow for the majority of our food, we are talking 22 types of plants with a specific strain make up 80% of our food. Can we afford to lose 80% of our food?
So how to fix it. We first need to encourage a larger diversity of plants, the idea being that some blights will effect some strains of plants and not others. We then need to decentralize our food production, moving food production closer to the people. This will take time, money and in all honesty could turn out to be more expensive as economies of scale decreases, but we also need to put a price on sleeping soundly at night.
I don’t think it takes any stretch of the imagination to see how us depending on other countries for oil is a bad thing. Especially when you consider that most sources of this oil are in politically unstable areas. One thing we see as an option is to drill off shore, which as of late, we have seen how bad that has turned out to be. The fact is that there may be a large volume of oil out there, but it is still a finite resource and it is getting harder and harder to get to. With increased difficulty comes increased risk and while innovations can mitigate those risks, I am still left doubting it.
So the solution, I say save what we have in our country and lets focus on sustainable technologies. While people talk about nuclear, I have to remind them of the heavy subsidies they get every year. Nuclear is a pretty mature technology, I assert that if we took these subsidies and used them to develop solar/wind into mature technologies that we could come out on top. The added benefit to this is that we can then decentralize power production to avoid 50 well place bombs to take out most of our power production.
To sum up I think that we are beginning to see how Green is better for everyone in many ways. I found this video done by Pew which is pretty interesting.
Great tips on some quick things you can do right now to help green your home and make your green go a bit further.
1. Change your light bulbs already! How many environmentalists does it take to change a light bulb? There are several answers to this joke (none of them that funny), but the real answer is: “all of them.” In your home, lighting accounts for nearly 30 percent of all electricity use. By using compact fluorescent bulbs, you can cut lighting costs by 30 to 60 percent, while improving the quality of the light and reducing environmental impact at the same time.2. Convince your toilet to use less water. More water is consumed per person in the United States than in any other country. More than a quarter of all of the water used inside the home is flushed down the toilet, which is, literally, a waste. The toilet is the single largest user of clean drinking water inside the home, and it is also the easiest place to conserve water. Before you run out and replace your existing toilets, there are simple and effective things you can do to trick your old toilet to use less water, from flush adapters to flusher adjustments and tank tricks. And when the time comes to replace your working toilets, make sure you buy a low-flow or dual-flush model.3. Use less water in the shower. Showers add up to nearly 20 percent of all indoor water usage and are the largest users of hot water. By simply installing a low-flow showerhead, you can save up to 4,000 gallons of water annually, and for every gallon of hot water you save, that’s gas or electricity you don’t need to use to heat it. If your average shower is 10 minutes long, upgrading your old showerheads to a low-flow model will save 25 to 55 gallons of water for every shower you take, and potentially shave 30 percent off utility bills!4. Keep vampires at bay. In the average home, 75 percent of the electricity used to power home electronicsâ€”cable boxes, DVD players, video games, stereosâ€”is consumed while the products are turned off. That’s money that could stay in your pocket. If something is plugged into the wallâ€”a TV, a cellphone charger, an appliance- even if it’s not on, it draws electricity. We call this demand of energy “phantom loads” or, more appropriately, “vampire loads,” since they suck energy. While the amount of power used is relatively small, they can add up to more than 10 percent of your electricity bill.