Oct 15, 2007

Blog Action Day - Rose out of Green Trash Can

One day, when I returned from my holiday, I spotted a white rose in a very unusual place. A few weeks ago - I remember - I had just dumped the pot with the sick rose bush with its yellow leaves into the green trash. A little slot of the trash can lid remained open. Out of the same slot, stretched a new plant, grown in record speed and holding its beautiful white open blossom. This was a hint by the creator that there is always new beginnings, new life is possible, and new houses can be built out of the rubble of old ones. Biological carbon is one of the chief constituents of life.

Environmental Down-to-earth politics versus Eco-Ideologies
This is a list of practical steps for environmental care beyond any green ideology. Here are some suggestions as partly found during the October 2007 Swiss Election Campaign, as suggested by my favorite candidate, Josef Jenni, energy planner in Switzerland. Jenni became famous for the first 100% solar powered appartment bloc in Europe in Burgdorf, Switzerland. In his "energy visions for the future", he suggests among other things:
• Electricity from water power. 60% of Swiss electricity is water powered.
• Passive use of solar energy through clever installation of windows.
• Solar panels: ALL YEAR ROUND for hot water and heating; a combination of solar panels and wind energy for the production of electricity.
• Geo-thermal projects to drill heat from the mantle of the earth (3 - 5 kilometers) are fit for the future: In densely populated areas, unlimited heat can be gained from the earth for the production of electricity as well as heating and hot water.
• Industrial and commercial waste heat can be a useful source of energy.
• Use wooden pellets for heating wherever available. The biggest effect can be achieved by means of a good chimney heater with a water cooled heat exchanger.

All the above can be achieved by taxes from old engines and heating systems that are no longer energy efficient. A taxation system should be neutral, i.e. all taxes should go into domestic projects such as the above to increase energy efficiency and to promote energy independence from abroad, most particularly independence as much as possible from fossile fuels from the Middle East.

Getting out of Our Comfort Zones

According to a position paper of the EDU party (Federal Democratic Union), a Christian minority party similar to the Evangelical Peoples Party (EVP) of Jenni, ideal climate politics should not be separated from realistic energy politics. It is deceptive to believe that our free society can function with environmentally friendly energies alone, if we are not willing to get out of our comfort zone. Incentive taxes are therefore necessary, but they should be introduced according to the amount of energy used (both for cars and for heating), and according to the pollutants. Moreover, EDU suggests individual accounts for heating and hot water in all appartment blocs. The former is already standard in Switzerland.

With domestic projects such as the above, we will be on the right track even if the climate starts to cool down again for whatever unprecedented reason.

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