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Solar Village


Solar Boat Completes Circumnavigation
Published: May 3, 2012
Traveling more than 60,000 kilometres entirely using electricity generated by photovoltaic solar panels on the deck of this large boat. Compare that to $1000 for a medium/small size power boat using gasoline to cross lake Ontario, ignoring the terrible cost related to the pollution.
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Photo Credit: Tûranor PlanetSolar © www.planetsolar.org

Circumnavigating earth by various means has become commonplace for those that can afford the airfare. Each day thousands of planes complete this journey, each dumping 14 tonnes of carbon into our shared atmosphere for free, in fact worse than that, with subsidies and tax breaks you pay for. Limited reserves of fossil fuels that drive this global pyromania are starting to hit the point where new discoveries are unable to offset increasing demand, even in a slowing economy. Oil climbs upwards of $100 per barrel without even considering any of the long term environmental costs in that price. Without solar powered alternatives like the Planet Solar boat, we are on a crash course towards climate change disaster on top of the economic turmoil we fail to understand at our great peril.

Circumnavigating in a solar powered boat, driven by super reliable electric motors, proves we have alternatives that ultimately cost less. We fool ourselves by ignoring the true costs of our fossil and nuclear non-renewable addictions that massively pollute our environment pushing the costs onto our children, while destroying the potential for a sustainable economy since one based on non-renewables can never be sustainable.

Transportation impacts represent approximately one third of carbon emissions and an even larger portion of our use of precious non-renewable reserves of fossil fuels. Solar electric boats show that we could be making a giant switch in global shipping to solar, wind, and biofuel based transport by water, while improving the efficiency, and representing the true costs of these activities. Similarly, cars, trucks and even planes can be powered by solar, electricity and biofuel alternatives. Cars like the GM Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, and Mitsubishi iMiev prove that we can make the switch now, making transport 60% more efficient, and ultimately less costly, and much more truly representative of the real costs to society over time.

Of course the homes and buildings we use contribute another roughly one third to emissions and non-renewable fuel use. Here again, solar, wind, geothermal, and biofuel alternatives provide more than enough of the required energy, essentially from a fuel source that is unlimited and free. Many houses and commercial buildings that generate more renewable energy than they require prove we could make this switch. Arguments made by the institutional imperatives of the oil, gas, coal, and nuclear industries, are simply high paid attempts to "baffle with bullshit". Investments in renewable energy would represent a switch to a sustainable economy while at the same time putting it on a "real" cost basis, so clearly avoided with the use of non-renewables like fossil and nuclear energy.

Finally, we come to our consumer lifestyles, and all the shopping we do, but most especially the food we eat. Here we've always known the sun provides the energy that the plants and meat we consume need to grow. We can produce as much as we need without using fossil fuel based fertilizers and pesticides, as well as large scale fossil fuel based mechanization. Switching to permaculture and organic techniques can accomplish the move to a renewable forms of agricultural production, including the use of electric vehicles where required. Again, this move would make the economy represent real and true costs, so disturbingly avoided today.

All over the world renewable energy alternatives, using renewable resources are proving that you can power your house, transportation and food entirely from sustainable solar sources of energy. That it can and has been fully accomplished by individuals, households, factories, commercial buildings, office towers, cars, trucks, and farms, at the small community level, and up to the entire city, and now approaching the scale of entire states and countries, the arguments against renewables driven by vested interested, are being increasingly starkly exposed (see the documentary video Hope for a Change: Renewable Energy on YouTube for the details). This author lives in a house that produces more energy than it consumes, using solar, while at the same time making a profit on the energy savings and German style feed-in laws that make becoming a producer of renewable energy economically attractive. This same author has an electric car, the Chevy Volt, again proving that we can today make the switch to electric vehicles that are superior to conventional combustion vehicles. A family member has an 35 foot sailboat that travels all over Lake Ontario using 100% wind power and when the wind doesn't blow the 6kW electric motor can power us back to the dock even if that means crossing the entire lake, north to south (batteries are charged by 100% renewable energy, and the lead acid batteries can be recycled essentially 100% after the useful life of approximately eight years). Electric/renewable fuelled forms of transportation are more reliable, easier to maintain and cost less than their combustion engine alternatives. The food we eat more and more comes from a local organic farmer using a relatively tiny greenhouse that provides fresh produce all year long despite our harsh cold climate in the winter.

Vested interests clinging to their institutional imperatives, people who are afraid to lose their jobs in the non-renewable fossil and nuclear industries, have now had their lies exposed. We can make the switch to a future powered entirely by 100% renewable energy and resources, creating a far superior and sustainable economy in the long run, for our children and future generations. Learn more by view the documentary video The Solar Village on Youtube.

Photo Credit: Tûranor PlanetSolar © www.planetsolar.org

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