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Being Green: Turning Back the Clock

Hi Folks:

Friday once again, and time for this week’s ‘Being Green‘ post.  Before I get to that, however, I wanted to add in the following link: How to say “peace” in 100 languages.  Always a good idea…

Much of the cosmetics industry seems to revolve around the idea of being able to turn back the aging process a few years… I’m getting a little grayer around the muzzle myself (I’m the wolf part of wolfnowl.com) but I’m rather proud of those white hairs – and not just because it makes me look like Santa Claus.  However, that’s not what this blog post is about.

My mind often works in a ‘ping-pong’ fashion (some might call it ‘cascade failure’  instead ;) ) and while I was fishing around for an idea for this week’s ‘green’ post I found myself thinking about the webinar with Dr. Jennifer Languell I watched last week.  One of the things she mentioned was our (over)reliance on technology such as air conditioning systems when we could choose instead to incorporate passive systems that require no energy generation.  That got me thinking about an episode I’d seen on television once about a house that had incorporated waterways and gardens within the main floor of the house; one that essentially required intensive airflow modification to keep the temperature and humidity in check.  It was an engineering marvel that worked very well… as long as the electricity to run the system wasn’t lost.  That got me thinking about different technologies, including methods used by ancient cultures, that don’t rely on such elaborate mechanical systems.  Many people tend to see ancient and especially aboriginal cultures as being ‘primitive’, but in many cases their technology and their Ways of being equalled or surpassed our own.  For example, the Hopi people of the American southwest have been growing corn in a desert for millenia.

That reminded me of a TED talk I’d seen a while back on ancient systems of water collection and conservation in India: “Anupam Mishra: The ancient ingenuity of water harvesting” and that got me thinking about Wade Davis and his work with indigenous cultures.  He has a fascinating talk here: “Wade Davis on endangered cultures“.  That reminded me of a National Geographic article on ‘terra preta,  essentially a ‘super earth’, often metres thick that has been found in various areas in South America.  One of the ‘known’ properties of the South American rainforest is that it’s very soil poor – either a white sand or a red clay with low nutrient levels.  However, with careful management ancient peoples created a soil that has very high nutrient levels, a soil that could grow crops enough to have supported large populations and cities.  Scientists today are trying to determine how to replicate that process.

Can we turn back the clock?  No, and we don’t really want to do so.  Nobody’s seriously suggesting we bring back fatal childhood diseases or exchange a computer for an abacus.  What we can do is take the lessons from other cultures in other times and apply them as best we can to our world.  Here’s one example: “Sustainable Homes: 26 Designs That Respect The Earth“.

Okay, the links for this week include:

Okay, that’s it for now.  Have a great week!

Hugs,
Mike.

P.S. A bit of fun.. the CSR Name Generator (Don’t be shy… hit the ‘refresh’ button a couple of times!)

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